Developer: Irving City Manager Torpedoed $252 Million Entertainment Complex Because it Wouldn't Donate to Son's School

LasColinasGroup.JPG
Las Colinas Group

Update on Aug. 8: I spoke with Mayor Beth Van Doyne who told me, basically, that LVG doesn't have much of a case.

"The Las Colinas Group is in a corner," she said. "The city has done everything they were obligated to do. It's nothing but a smear campaign."

The city will allow the lawsuit to make its way through the courts before it decides what to do about the entertainment center, but she expects the development to proceed in some form. The city has already invested $40 million in the project and there is already considerable development happening in the area, with 6,000 new residences, the $200 million convention center, and the opening of DART's Orange Line.

"I think everybody is in agreement that we need to hav something in that area. City has invested a lot of time and resources to make it a business friendly and business inviting development," Van Doyne said. "And we're very disappointed" that LCG wouldn't work with the city.

Original post: The Irving City Council decided last night to move forward with plans for a $252 million entertainment complex without the Las Colinas Group as a partner.

LCG waited only about as long as it took for the Dallas County courthouse doors to open to make good on its promise to sue.

According to this morning's filing, things between LCG and the city were going swimmingly for a time. The "visionary developers" met with city leaders in 2007 and hatched plans for a "multi-use entertainment center" complete with an 8,000-capacity performing hall, themed restaurants and nightclubs, and an open-air plaza.

Developer and municipality were close partners in the project, which was expected to spur $400 million in economic activity, create 2,700 new jobs, and turn around the Las Colinas Urban Center which, the suit notes mildly, "has lost much of its luster." The project has the support of a majority of the Irving City Council and two-thirds of voters.

Enter City Manager Tommy Gonzalez who, according to the lawsuit, led a small contingent of the city in making "every effort to kill the project and thwart the will of the people" by frustrating LCG's attempts to raise money and sabotaging the city's bond rating process. (A call to the city has not been returned.)

The 51-page lawsuit lays out in detail how Gonzalez allegedly went about. There was a damaging leak to Standard & Poor's, secretive and possibly illegal meetings of city officials and other things that boil down to a breach of contract on the part of the city.

Mostly, though, the suit slings mud at Gonzalez. He shakes down companies who do business with the city, the lawsuit alleges, requesting, donations for his son's private school. He drove out real estate development head Brenda McDonald after she complied with an open records request for documents related to the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys' practice facility, according to an affidavit by McDonald filed with the suit. He generally conducted business as a "petty tyrant."

Another developer has stepped in and has promised to complete the project, but this seems to be a pretty solid nail in the coffin. Which is probably just as well, because let's be honest: you've sunk pretty low if you choose Las Colinas as your entertainment destination.



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22 comments
claysetsfire
claysetsfire

don't we have enough of this crap allready?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

it's good to know we don't have a monopoly on city officials demanding equity.   Worst comment system ever.  It says there are 8 comments, but only two show, and, I'm waiting and waiting for my comment to post, and, it says I need to sign in, even though I just posted under my regular name just a moment ago in another thread.   I'm getting changing numbers in the # of people listening, so, it's not totally unresponsive.  LIVEFYRE IS A PIECE OF SHIT

big_oj
big_oj

So, if this thing gets build next to the Orange Line, I would love to hear the same b- about the line from last week.

d-may
d-may

Yeah, another entertainment district. That's just what the metroplex needs. 

Joni Espinoza
Joni Espinoza

Save your money and go walk around Walmart taking pictures of the crazies in Irving....

Consumerist
Consumerist

looks like another destination to add to the area' s fine assortment of pointless entertainment complexes. i look forward to venturing their to wander another maze of marked up retail among baked concrete and steel.

Christy Nouri Blaul
Christy Nouri Blaul

Wow i am from irving...he needs to get off the counsel. All people care about is themselves...not for the good of the,city or people. That city manger needs to be replaced!!

G_David
G_David

"Which is probably just as well, because let's be honest: you've sunk pretty low if you choose Las Colinas as your entertainment destination."

 

Way to completely torpedo what had been a shockingly well-written and evenhanded blog entry, an increasingly endangered thing around here.  Apparently it's in your contract to have a smug, asinine or flat out dumbass sentence appear at least once.  You hit all 3 this time.  Dumbass.

James080
James080

Interesting. LCG paid over a hundred thousand dollars to the former mayor (Gears), and additional tens of thousands to a hand full of pro-LCG council members, as well as making a huge donation to the Irving Fireman's PAC (to support the same cabal of pro-LCG elected politicians), and misspent millions of dollars of the development funds (likely much more but the pro-LCG counsel members prevented a full audit),  then LCG worries that a donation to the city manager's (unelected position) would be illegal? I'm shocked. Of course it would have been illegal, and the political donations should have been illegal, instead of merely highly unethical. This is just the final shake down by a developer that never could quite get its act together, in my opinion. I hope Irving has the balls to play smash-mouth with these posers.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

I'm shocked to discover graft and collusion by a minority member of city government.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I didn't know JWP was moonlighting with an alias.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @scottindallas  I think the head honchos didn't like the lively nature of discussion here at UP, so they nixed disqus, AND got rid of the menu with the recent posts, and most read, and most commented, making it more difficult if not impossible to follow up on fun stories, of which there are fewer.

I predict a move to Facebook in 2 weeks, so no more dirty words either.

 

BOOGER!

johndixpaints
johndixpaints

 @Consumerist If it is pointless, why go? You contradict yourself with your hip, oh so cool, cynicism. 

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @G_David Especially considering I don't think Eric has been here long enough to get to Las Colinas without consulting a map yet.

 

Knock off the douchebag pot-shots, Eric. Is it Observer policy to try and sound superior if a burb is involved, or is it an informal thing?

Consumerist
Consumerist

 @johndixpaints  @Consumerist sarcasm... humor...

pointing out the multitude of  municipalities in the area competing for convention/event dollar with indistinguishable soul numbing toss of tax dollars down the rathole developed in part by the prodding of evidently corrupt politicians. mebee u don't get good readin comprenshun with paintbrush in hand?

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