Ousted developer of San Antonio apartment project retaliates against former partner

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The development company evicted from a North West Side apartment development for alleged wrongdoing has hit back with its own claims against its former partner.

Place LLC and its director, Dan Leverett, allege that Stewart Development and Construction tried to “extract as much power and control as possible” over the 318-unit Arbolada project, but “went in over its head. regarding its construction.

Mark Stewart, director of Stewart Development, Arbolada’s general contractor, “sought a scapegoat and a way out” over the prospect of “not realizing his anticipated profits on the project,” Place and Leverett say in documents recently filed court cases.

Place was removed as developer of Arbolada in early 2021, replaced by Stewart Development.

The filing follows a lawsuit filed in November by SA Bighausland LLC, the entity behind Arbolada and the company that owns the 44-acre site at 19479 Babcock Road. Another Stewart company is a managing member of SA Bighausland.

SA Bighausland accused Place of secretly withdrawing a capital contribution of $152,329 without authorization. Place reimbursed SA Bighausland after one of Stewart’s businesses confronted her, but Place then filed “fake” invoices to recover the funds she was to return, according to the lawsuit.

SA Bighausland sued Place and Leverett for more than $1 million in damages, as well as unspecified damages, for breach of fiduciary duty and other claims. SA Bighausland wants Place and Leverett to hand over more than $1 million in fees they have already collected, the lawsuit said. Leverett denied the allegations.

Place and Leverett are seeking more than $1 million in damages in their lawsuit, filed last month in San Antonio District Court.

In the filing, Leverett says he completed more than $1.5 billion in commercial and residential real estate projects totaling more than 5 million square feet during his approximately 30-year career.

Place held a stake in the entity that purchased the land for Arbolada in 2017 and carried out all work in the early stages of the project, including zoning and permits.

Place approached Stewart and others to invest in the project through SA Bighausland, which was overseen by a quartet of managers including Leverett.

At the beginning of 2019, many early investors wanted to be bought out of their investments in SA Bighausland.

“Stewart took the opportunity to extract a pound of flesh from Place,” Place and Leverett claim.

Stewart “heavily armed Place” in a deal where one of his companies would receive 40% of the cash distribution that would go to Place, the action adds. Stewart’s firm still held its investment in SA Bighausland.

Stewart also demanded that Place share development costs that would be paid to Place, the counterclaim states.

Place sought to recruit new investors, but “Stewart’s refusal to accept new capital was nothing more than laying the groundwork for his plan to consolidate power in his (and his companies’) hands. ),” Place and Leverett said.

Place and Leverett blame Stewart for not buying lumber before prices spiked towards the end of 2020. Without lumber, Stewart had to delay the project, they add.

Stewart, as majority member of SA Bighausland, removed Leverett as manager and Place as developer of the project in January 2021. Stewart Development stepped in as developer without the approval of any other investors, according to Place. and Leverett.

The original lawsuit said the stake of one of Stewart’s companies in SA Bighausland had fallen to 81% in the summer of 2020. Place held less than a 4% interest.

SA Bighausland accused Place of failing to manage the project’s architects, contractors, consultants and other professionals.

A Stewart company stepped up by contributing “millions of dollars in capital contributions” to SA Bighausland and repaying bank loans, according to the lawsuit.

Place and Leverett’s suit includes a libel suit against Stewart for allegedly telling other investors that Place “prepared the books” in reference to his accounting on the project. Their other claims include breach of contract.

A lawyer for SA Bighausland declined to comment.

pdanner@express-news.net


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