Billionaire Investor Sues Developer

DCS Holdings against Maitland attorney Jim Palmer and his affiliated development groups. Palmer has denied the accusations. Palmer and his affiliates have been spearheading development of the 562-acre Kelly Park Crossing, a residential and commercial project in Apopka. DCS is owned by billionaire Dwight Schar, who owns a stake in the Washington Redskins and has invested in Florida projects such as Bella Collina in Montverde. It’s unclear how much DCS invested in Kelly Park Crossing. The lawsuit states that Palmer, a board member of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, claimed his properties were worth $150 million. It also states that Palmer claimed Metro Orlando’s expressway authority would pay $45 million for about 100 acres needed to build the Wekiva Parkway.

“DCS later discovered that defendants had misrepresented the project’s value, debt, liabilities, debt restructure, and profitable development of the project,” the suit states.
On Thursday, Palmer said he was disappointed about being named in the complaint. He said he had last communicated with DCS about a year ago when he rejected an offer it made to buy his property. “It’s sour grapes because they have made offers to buy various parts of the property that we have not sold,” Palmer said. “Anything that we told them is accurate. We bent over backward to provide accurate information to them, and the same can’t be said of them.” Earlier this year, an appraisal done for the Central Florida Expressway Authority showed that the land value and related damages to the property from the parkway would be $31.8 million — far short of the $45 million cited in the lawsuit as the amount Palmer said he could get from the authority. No one from DCS Holdings would comment. The lawsuit does not detail the amount of money that Schar’s company had sunk into Kelly Park Crossing, which would include $1 billion worth of homes, shops, offices, a community college campus and a Wekiva Parkway interchange. The court filing states that the company invested “substantial capital” in Palmer’s properties and missed other investment opportunities. At the center of the dispute is not only the land value and the amount Palmer might get from the expressway authority but also the amount that Palmer had borrowed from other groups to assemble the land. Palmer claimed the debt was no more than $55 million and could be “reduced quickly to avoid foreclosure, further claims and loss of the project,” the suit states. But Schar’s representatives later learned through public records and other sources that the debt was far more than $55, according to the suit. In addition, Palmer’s groups promised DCS that it could recoup its investment once the expressway authority purchased acreage on the site, the suit stated. “DCS later discovered that the expressway sale would not close in the timeframe represented by defendants, that defendants’ representations about the value of the Expressway parcel were false, that the debt far exceeded defendants’ representations,” the suit claims. Kelly Park Crossing also has been part of a state investigation that recently led to the conviction of Orlando engineer Scott Batterson on bribery-related charges. Batterson, a former expressway authority member, had been a civil engineer for a group that worked on the development in 2011.   Source:  Orlando Sentinel  ]]>



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