NoMa case turns tawdry
June 20, 2007
Attorneys for North of Main leader Rodman Jordan claim his former business partner, Mark Fischer, did not have enough cash last fall to pay a credit-card bill, almost a year ago leaving the prospects of their ambitious remake of the district in doubt.
Jordan’s side makes the claim in a 36-page response in Third District Court to a Fischer lawsuit, fast becoming a tawdry peek into the mechanics of big-time commercial development in Park City.
The lawsuit attempts to end the business relationship between firms controlled by Fischer and Jordan. Fischer essentially wants Jordan barred from the business dealings of 12 properties, including key NoMa parcels.
Fischer was seen as at the financial muscle in the partnership while Jordan led the development efforts and handled the day-to-day tasks.
In the Monday filing, Jordan’s side claims Fischer encountered personal problems that made him unable to put up the money needed to redevelop the NoMa properties. The court filing says Fischer’s money issues were "significant" and "he essentially had no liquidity to engage in continuing investment activities."
It says Fischer in September "complained that he did not have enough liquid assets to pay his American Express" bill on time. The filing claims Fischer in April wrote in an e-mail he is "too leveraged in my mind" and there was not enough cash to pursue a project at Holiday Village.
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Meanwhile, Jordan’s side claims Fischer may have embezzled $440,000 meant to build a restaurant in NoMa, which was to be called Salt and put inside the Rail Central building, one of the properties entangled in the lawsuit.
The filing charges Fischer took the money in an effort to stop the construction of the restaurant and build office space for his brother.
The Jordan response details his side’s understanding of a series of deals, describes his efforts in securing funding for the NoMa development and discusses details of how parcels were to be obtained.
In the response, Jordan’s attorney alleges Fischer usurped opportunities and, at one point, calls Fischer’s dealings "vile." Fischer "has relied on a variety of trumped-up excuses" against Jordan and has tried to "squeeze" Jordan out of the partnership.
He claims Fischer did not pay $154,500 in brokers fees to Jordan on two parcels, including the prime Anderson Lumber land, and wrongfully tried to fire Jordan’s firm as the manager of the properties.
A trial date is not scheduled and the sides’ next appearance before Judge Bruce Lubeck is not set. On June 7, Lubeck ruled Jordan’s side should continue to manage the properties.
Jordan says in an interview the financial dealings caused the breakup and, before, the two worked well together. He says it started as a "match made in heaven."
"It was a happy-go-lucky relationship until the going got tough," Jordan says. "I just saw his persona change."
Eric Lee, Fischer’s attorney, had not read the Jordan filing by Tuesday morning but says Fischer was not having financial difficulties. He says Fischer did not embezzle money. He says Fischer and Jordan disagreed on the schedule of the developments and Fischer did not lack the money needed.
"It’s not a question of having the money . . . It’s a question of priorities," Lee says.
Jordan has led the efforts to turn NoMa, which is centered along Bonanza Drive, into one of Park City’s hotspots. He envisions it full of lofts, restaurants and shops and he has long said he wants the neighborhood to become trendy.
With some of the prime properties in the district tied up in the case, though, it is unclear when the plans will advance and whether Jordan or Fischer will be the prime player.