Jury Weighs the Curious Case of Easter Peeps Eviction
Carol "Chay" Burdick, 60, gained fame last year when details of her case became known. She appeared on Stephen Colbert's Comedy Central show in a skit titled "Easter Under Attack."
Aimco, a Denver real estate investment trust that owns the apartment, initially filed suit, contending that Burdick was evicted for failure to pay rent. It is seeking $2,300 in unpaid rent as well as attorneys' fees.
Burdick countersued, claiming Aimco breached its contract with her by throwing her out because she would not remove the decorations, which included a pyramid made of purple, yellow and green Peeps. She is seeking up to $1,000 to cover her relocation expenses.
During the trial a package of yellow Peeps was entered into evidence and a self-described Peeps "expert" testified that he stores them for years in his garage without problem.
"[The trial] is really not about religion or faith or principle or Easter or Peeps. This is about a tenant who didn't pay her rent," Jon Sands, Aimco's attorney, said in opening statements Tuesday, according to testimony posted on the Boulder Daily Camera website.
One issue expected to be considered -- whether the Peeps display was a symbol of artistic expression -- became moot when county Judge David Archuleta refused to allow testimony from an art expert. Burdick's attorney, John Pineau, wanted the artist to talk about the use of Peeps as a "legitimate medium" for art, but the judge agreed with Sands' objection that it wasn't relevant to the case.
Sands said the Peeps were nailed above Burdick's door for more than a month before managers took them down. He said that although the lease didn't ban decorations in common areas, the marshmallow candies were inappropriate to hang on a wall in a semipublic space "even if they're molded into cute shapes; and I think Peeps are cute," according to the Daily Camera.
The six-member jury got the case late this afternoon but recessed for the day without reaching a decision.