RTKL -- the architecture firm hired by Hicks Holdings, Steiner + Associates and myriad other companies to develop the dead-since-'08 Glorypark development next to the Ballpark in Arlington -- just sued pretty much everyone associated with the project. And when I say "just," I mean: The commercial dispute and fraud lawsuit, in which RTKL is joined by Vratsinas Construction Company (VCC), was filed 40 minutes ago in Dallas County District Court, which means those named as defendants probably haven't even received the paperwork.
The reason for the suit: RTKL and VCC say they haven't been paid for their work on planning, designing or constructing "the aborted" Glorypark, and they want somewhere in the ballpark of $7 million. And, no, this isn't associated with the other Glorypark lawsuit filed by Steiner, the developer suing Tom Hicks over a piece of the land near the Ballpark. This is a whole 'nother ballgame -- and Steiner, matter of fact, is among the defendants named in the brand-new suit, along with Tom Hicks, Hicks Holdings and the Texas Rangers Baseball Partners.
The 20-page complaint follows, and in it, RTKL claims that not only was it hired by Steiner to design the development, but that Tom Hicks and his family had the company do separate work on something called "Rangers Alley," which would have involved fine-tuning the Ballpark to fit Glorypark. VCC says it also completed "precast concrete pieces" for two parking garages worth $4 million-plus that now sit abandoned in a Central Texas field.
I've left a message for Lisa LeMaster, Hicks's spokesperson, who was in a meeting and unavailable for comment. The attorneys representing RTKL were also not available.
Update at 1:40 p.m.: I just spoke with John Nassen, one of the attorneys representing RTKL and VCC. His comments after the jump.
One question I have is: Why did RTKL and VCC wait to long to file suit, given that both companies went so long without getting paid for some of the work done on the project?
VCC and RTKL were paid for work they did early on in their respective engagements, but the project got under way in 2005 and continued after that, and for an extended period payments were made. But after a while, it was partial payment than then payment, and then there were representations made from the Hicks entities that payment might be forthcoming. That was the summer of 2008, and payment was never made.
Why wait? The answer is, both RTKL and VCC are very large organizations. RTLK did Mockingbird Station and Legacy Town Center; VCC built Stonebriar Mall. And the expectation always was the developer group would be true to its written agreements and promises and payments would be made. When development was suspended in the summer 2008, everyone in the Dallas development community had more hope than expectation the market might turn soon enough to allow the project to go forward, and when that happened, it was anticipated financing would become available and the developer would adhere to its promise.
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The nature of the work is so big it's hard to believe the developer would not appreciate the work done and pay for it. RTKL developed the master plan, the design development documentation, construction documentation and so forth. RTKL did the work for the Road to Six Flags, which was constructed and completed and is enjoyed by baseball fans. Signane was done, tenants were interacted with. On the other hand, VCC did preliminary precessing for various components, including determining how RTKL's design would would be translated into [reality].
Does Steiner's lawsuit over the land interfere with your suit at all?
We don't determine there will be any interference. It has no bearing. We've been getting our homework lined up since the summer so we could move forward. With all the entities involved it took us a while to make sure we knew who to bring into the case. The Steiner litigation is separate. Think of it this way: It's co-developers in a dispute with one another. Study it, and no where in there does Steiner ask the Hicks entities or the Rangers to pay anyone so they can pay anyone else. Our suit seeks money to reimburse for services performed and to distribute to subcontractors who worked on their behalf. Steiner's saying, "Why did't you put your property into the joint entity as agreed, and where's our part of the value?" VCC and RKL are seeking money for services performed and materials supplied.