A few days ago a Friend of Unfair Park who's in the commercial real estate business asked, "Ever heard of Eric Brauss?" Couldn't say that I had. He then pointed me to Today Realty Advisors' Web site, which details the dozens of transactions the firm has financed since its inception in 1990, when Brauss, a German native, moved to Dallas from Canada. Among the projects: the Dallas Design Center, Denton Towne Crossing, Lake Highlands Plaza ... the list goes on and on and encompasses not only North Texas but several other states.
This Friend then explained: "Word is, Brauss has left the country." Why? Because he allegedly owes a handful of people millions of dollars -- $6.028 million at least, according to legal documents filed in state court on November 23. After the jump, you will find the complete complaint against Brauss and his wife, Christine, by seven Dallas County residents and one German, who also asked for a temporary restraining order against the couple lest they get away with $120 million more currently in 39 real estate partnerships. You'll also find the TRO, granted by Judge Bruce Priddy. The complaint also says the Today Realty offices on Dallas Parkway have been shuttered, which, turns out, Steve Brown confirmed moments ago in a short item that only speculates about Brauss's whereabouts.
Brauss's attorney, Larry Friedman, confirms in an interview with Unfair Park that his client has left the country; Friedman says Christine Brauss is still in Dallas and that "I saw her today." Where is Eric Brauss, then?
"You're asking his lawyer where he is?" Friedman says. "I am currently not discussing Mr. Brauss's location."
Well, then, why did he leave the country?
"Only Mr. Brauss can answer that question," says Friedman. "It's not unlawful to leave the country."
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Friedman says he hasn't been served with the complaint, but he's certainly read it -- after all, he dismisses the allegations and says "the plaintiffs cannot support the allegations in that lawsuit." Asked when he will file a response, Friedman says he's not yet sure.
Our Friend says Brauss's leaving the country has created nothing short of an earthquake across the local real estate community. How big is this?
"Huge," says our Friend. "Huge. He was an equity partner in numerous deals around Dallas-Fort Worth, and for someone of his stature to flee the country will cause a lot of heartache for several developers who are in the process of refinancing their loans and will now not have the equity source to come up with it. It's a big deal."