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'Scheme To Defraud' Lawsuit Could Delay Frisco's $2B Wade Park Development Even Further

FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) - It was supposed to be a $2 billion, 175-acre mixed-use real estate development at Lebanon Road and Dallas North Tollway in Frisco.

Now a new lawsuit filed by the original developer could further delay the once highly celebrated development.

Notable Atlanta developer Stan Thomas filed a lawsuit in bankruptcy court claiming he was defrauded out of the project by his lender, Gamma Real Estate.

Construction on the high-profile project stopped in the summer of 2017 and this latest lawsuit could tie the property up in court for years.

The Wade Park project broke ground in 2014 with plans to build one of the largest mixed-use developments in North Texas with high-rise office buildings, condos, hotels, and retail space - including a Whole Foods Market.

Today, all that sits on the prime real estate is rusted shells of two half-started buildings and a massive concrete hole that was the beginnings of a five story deep underground parking structure.

Nearby residents complain for rainwater sitting stagnant in the concrete hole for days.

"It is a cesspool," said Frisco resident Kathy Hill. "I've been here for over two years and the only thing that has changed is the hole is only getting deeper and smeller and the weeds are back. We were supposed to have this great development and I thought the value of my home would skyrocket. But, instead, it's an eyesore."

According to the lawsuit, when funding became tight Thomas' company took out a $83 million bridge loan with Gamma.

When it came time to pay off the loan, Thomas' company defaulted and Gamma took over the property, according to court records.

However, according to lawsuit, Thomas claims "from the very beginning" this was a "scheme to defraud" him.

The lawsuit says Gamma "did not intend to be passive lenders. Rather, they intended to take Wade Park."

According to the petition, Gamma is accused of doing this by changing the terms of the loan and then interfering with Thomas's effort to get financing to pay it off.

In a response to lawsuit, Gamma filed its own court documents saying Thomas's claims are "meritless" - writing Gamma simply "enforced a legitimate contract".

Thomas and his attorneys did not return calls or emails from the CBS 11 I-Team, while attorneys for Gamma declined to comment on the case.

"Anytime there's a bankruptcy lawsuit that's going to put everything on ice and that's what you are seeing with Wade Park," said Kyle Waldrep, founder and CEO of Dottid, a commercial restate technology platform.

Waldrep has no involvement in the case. He looked over the lawsuit at the request for the CBS 11 News I-Team.

"Accusing the lender of a scheme, where it is premeditated, that's unusual but it is definitely the case here with this lawsuit," explained Waldrep. "Real estate is risky. People have to take changes and sometimes those turn into negatives and sometime even worse."

Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said he remains optimistic about the future of Wade Park but added the city is prepared to be patient.

"We want it to develop when the time is right," said Cheney. "This whole region is continuing to develop quickly and I think we'll look up and see Wade Park ten years from now moving forward as a successful project."

The city of Frisco approved $122 million in economic incentives for the project five years ago. The incentives have since been taken off the table.

According to bankruptcy filings, Thomas's companies owe the city of Frisco more than $3.5 million in unpaid fees.

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