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Partnership to create green development near Orlando sours

When it comes to business deals it is not uncommon for individuals or entities to work together as partners to get something done. Such an arrangement can be advantageous for all involved. It may provide one partner with the capital needed to get the project off the ground, in exchange for the other partner obtaining the opportunity to make a profit. When however these arrangements do not work as planned, litigation may be the end result. Two Florida business men are dealing with that reality now.

In 2005, the men, one a co-founder of Subway and the other a real estate developer, planned to work together to develop a green community located south of Orlando. Named “Destiny,” the development is advertised as a community committed to preservation, where 250,000 people could live work at businesses focused on green technology. Several years later, in 2009, the working relationship between the two fell apart and each filed a lawsuit against the other. In both lawsuits the businessmen blamed each other for the development’s failure and alleged fraud. Those lawsuits are still pending.

The fraud allegations against one of the men, the real estate developer, eventually led to 19 criminal charges. Among other things, he is accused of using the funds provided by the restaurant co-founder to purchase items characterized as being of the personal luxury variety, such as sound systems and a machine used to chill the water contained in the pond so that the fish would not die.

The civil trial has not yet been scheduled though thus far the man facing criminal charges has faced sanctions imposed by the judge, five times. In addition, he has been ordered to pay legal fees associated with evidentiary issues in the civil case. The co-founder of Subway has also received permission to seek punitive damages from his partner and another man working for the developer.

While it is unclear how either the civil or criminal cases will be resolved, undoubtedly both sides are working with lawyers to attain the best outcome.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Delray developer fights fraud charges, Subway co-founder,” Marc Freeman, July 6, 2014

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