Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The Las Colinas Group filed a lawsuit against the City this week after the Council voted down a resolution that would have extended negotiations for a $252 million entertainment center.
The lawsuit came just a day after the Council vote, the same day as a contract deadline with developer TDI Real Estate Holding and the Las Colinas Group.
TDI, which is not part of the suit, will continue to work with the City to close a deal on the controversial facility.
The lawsuit, filed in the 193rd Judicial District Court, claims that City Manager Tommy Gonzalez and “others, acting on behalf of the City, have stalled, stone-walled and delayed, purposefully allowing the contract to expire.”
Also, the City “refused to mediate in good faith” and possibly violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by “orchestrating a boycott” of the Aug. 2 special council meeting, according to the suit.
The City has not responded to requests for comment.
The Las Colinas Group is requesting that the court issue an injunction to keep the city from “destroying, falsifying, tampering with or hiding any documents” related to the entertainment center and to prohibit the City from using hotel occupancy tax revenue to pay for lawyers.
“Monday’s vote means the City will have to start over on plans for the center. Voters approved the entertainment center in 2007, and since then the City has spent about $35 million on the development,” Santoscoy said.
Under a new proposal for the center presented last week, TDI Real Estate Holding and the Las Colinas Group would havefinanced the project with $210 million in private funds and required only $17 million in new City funding.
The new proposal would have made TDI the lead developer.
At one point, the City was expected to pay about $170 million of the project. However, a multi-million bond package earmarked for the project failed to receive a AAA Standard & Poor’s rating earlier this year, jeopardizing the city’s plan to raise the funds.
The entertainment center, touted as a facility that would bring in jobs, has divided the City Council.
Last week, a special City Council meeting to hear the new presentation was canceled when only four of the Council members attended the meeting.
Still, Las Colinas Group and TDI presented the new proposal for the 550,000-square foot center to the attending Council members.