Sunday, March 02, 2014

Company Owned By Marion Building Commissioner Suing Korean Businessman Who Failed To Redevelop YMCA Building After Receiving $2.5 Million In TIF Funds

Advance Indiana recently told you about how a Korean businessman from California managed to land a $2.5 million TIF grant from the city of Marion to redevelop the former YMCA building but failed to carry though with the redevelopment plan as promised. The Chronicle-Tribune reports today that a company owned by the city of Marion's building commissioner, Larry Oradat, is suing Michael An's company for construction work it says it performed on the building for which it was never paid. Mayor Wayne Seybold's brother, Chad Seybold, worked for An's company at one time.
 . . . Erma’s Home Improvement — whose agent and president is Larry Oradat, Marion’s building commissioner — is involved in a dispute with World Enterprise Group. The registered agent and president of World Enterprise Group is Michael An. In 2009 and 2010, World Enterprise Group was listed on invoices totaling about $2 million for renovations to the former YMCA building. An also employed Chad Seybold, the brother of Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold, for a time.
The lawsuit claims World Enterprise Group “breached (a) contract by not paying the amounts due and for not allowing the defendant to complete the work that was contracted,” according to a lawsuit filed Nov. 14 in Grant County Superior Court I.
Court documents do not state where Oradat’s company performed work for An’s company. Nor does it state the amount owed. According to the defendant’s written response to the lawsuit filed Dec. 10, the two parties did enter into a contract for construction work to be completed by Erma’s Home Improvement for World Enterprise Group. Citing the quality of the work, World Enterprise Group contends Erma’s Home Improvement is not owed any payment.
“The work that the plaintiff did do was of a shoddy, unsatisfactory and unworkmanlike quality,” the document reads. “Plaintiff is in breach of the said contract and, due to such breach, defendant has no duty to pay any amount to plaintiff.” No further documents have been filed on the case then, and records show the case remains pending . . .
An's original plan for redeveloping the YMCA building included a hotel, restaurant, spa and men's and women's clothing stores. No visible work has been performed on the exterior of the building since An purchased it, and the property has subsequently been placed on the auction block for failure to pay the property taxes owed on it. The city of Marion has since refinanced the original $2.5 million bond issue.

A public records request by the Chronicle-Tribune recently failed to produce documentation of where more than $2 million raised from the bond issue was spent. Oradat's lawsuit against An's company doesn't indicate how much Oradat claims he is owed by An. It's unclear why the state's conflict of interest law wouldn't have prohibited Oradat's company from participating in a construction project financed with public tax dollars while he served as the city's building commissioner. Per standard operating procedure, no criminal investigation is opened by federal or state prosecutors in this state when public funds are pilfered through TIF financing schemes.


Anonymous said...

nd. Code §36-1-20.2

Definition: Ind. Code

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