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Aspen Psychics Square Off

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Short of hiring consultants to come up with new ways to butcher the English language (Qwest, Xcel, Cingular, etc.), businesses usually choose a company name based on a simple formula: Location plus trade. Businesses in Aspen-home to Aspen Flyfishing, Aspen Limousine, and Aspen Ski Tours-are no exception. Problems arise, however, when there’s more than one psychic in town.

Larry and Nancy Marks, owners of Aspen Psychic, are suing their former daughter-in-law Pepa Marks and others for operating a business with the same name.

According to the suit, Pepa Marks worked for her in-laws at the original Aspen Psychic and, when she left, agreed not to use the business name or techniques she learned on the job. The Marks allege that Pepa later convinced her father to start a psychic business in Aspen in the summer of 2000 “because there were many wealthy prospective clients there.”

Since then, the psychic-versus- psychic battle, complete with claims of harassment and threats of violence, has been waged at the dinner table, in the phone book, on the town’s pedestrian mall, and at the local market. Neither side could predict the outcome.