Judge in Ziegler case may recuse himself

The path to his day in court has been a long and winding one for Wellington developer Fred Ziegler. And it’s about to take another twist.

Ziegler was arrested in April on five counts of felony theft stemming from his activities between March 2004 and August 2006 as a principal in ZWZ LLC, developer of the Wellington South-The Knolls subdivision.

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Ziegler pleaded not guilty to the charges in October, and on Nov. 13 was set to learn when he would go to trial.

However, District Court Judge Devin R. Odell may have a potential conflict of interest in the case. He presided over a civil action involving Ziegler and several of the potential witnesses in the criminal case back in 2008.

So instead of setting a trial date, Odell scheduled a conference on Nov. 28 at 11:30 a.m. in Courtroom 5A of the Larimer County Justice Center to determine whether he should recuse himself from the case. If the judge remains on the case, he will set a trial date then.

The criminal charges Ziegler faces allege that he and ZWZ co-mingled personal and business funds with money belonging to the Wellington South homeowners association and used HOA money to pay for improvements on property owned by the developers. It is also alleged that Ziegler withdrew in excess of $54,600 from the HOA account that was never replaced.