Virgili, homeless man among Ryan’s accusers in court
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Accused thief Shawnee Ryan allegedly ripped off chamber manager Marianne Virgili for more than $100,000 when Virgili and her husband, John, were building a million-dollar house in Aspen Glen.
That is what Virgili, head of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, testified Monday in the case against Ryan, shortly before the prosecution ended its case and handed the trial to defense attorney Kathy Goudy.
Ryan on Monday told District Judge Denise Lynch that she would be testifying on her own behalf before the trial is done.
Ryan, 55, is accused of bilking as many as 40 different customers and suppliers of thousands of dollars over several years, while she ran a series of interior design shops in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Arrested and jailed in 2010, Ryan is free on a bond of $38,000 while the trial proceeds.
The trial is scheduled to last until Aug. 20 but may end early.
Virgili told the court that she met Ryan late in 2008, when she used a gift certificate purchased at a charity auction to hire Ryan for consulting services.
“Within a month, we became very close. She was at the house, on the construction site, more and more,” Virgili said, ultimately taking over as their owners’ representative in talks with contractors.
In January 2009, Virgili testified, a family illness forced her to travel frequently.
She and John were ready to turn over management of the project to Ryan, Virgili said, when “suddenly, the relationship started to go south.”
She testified that Ryan, upset over being pressed to deliver materials that had been ordered and paid for, called Virgili “manipulative” and grew angry with her. Then one of their contractors warned the Virgilis of “questionable activities” having to do with other Ryan customers.
When the couple decided to not put her in charge, Ryan grew angry again and told Marianne she “wasn’t allowed to purchase any more” goods from Ryan’s shop.
She also forbade Virgili to be on the building site when materials were delivered, an order that Virgili ignored. That was when she learned that wooden flooring being delivered was not the flooring she had ordered months earlier.
Virgili said $43,000 worth of cabinets ordered through Ryan were never delivered, although they had been paid for.
The relationship continued to deteriorate, ending in Ryan’s dismissal and her agreement to pay the Virgilis $57,000. But the check never arrived, Virgili testified.
In April 2009, Virgili wrote to the district attorney, she said, “because we suspected we were not the only ones these things were happening to.”
A network of Ryan’s former customers began comparing notes and agreed to testify in court, which ultimately led to an investigation and the filing of charges.
Homeless man asked to sign as CEO
Keith Wayne, a homeless man living west of town, also testified for the prosecution on Monday. He said that in 2010 Ryan borrowed his name and Social Security number and promised to pay him $1,500 in return, but never paid.
Ryan had declared personal and business bankruptcy that year. Wayne said Ryan had hired him for odd jobs when she asked him to masquerade as her CEO. He was listed as a signatory on a bank account opened March 22, 2010, and she asked him to sign some blank checks once, but he never got paid, he said.
“It was just to help her circumvent the bankruptcy difficulty she encountered,” Wayne told the court, and he needed the money.
But the only payment he ever got from Ryan, he said, was $250 for painting her apartment, and that was only half what he had been promised for the job.
When Wayne asked for the $1,500, he said, “That did not go well. She just kind of lost it, and our affiliation ended.”
She asked him to keep their deal secret, he said.
Then he heard about the charges pending against Ryan. “I knew I could be in trouble,” he said, so he agreed to tell his story to the DA.
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