Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Threatening To Sideline Plantation’s $300M 321 North Project, Case Refiled

Written by on May 21, 2014 in News - No comments

A lawsuit by the majority owner of the Fashion Mall that alleged a misuse of funds at the redevelopment project by its manager has been dismissed from federal court, although it was quickly refiled in state court.

U.S. District Judge James I. Cohen granted the motion by project manager Wei Chen and Mapuche LLC, the company that controls the property, to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction. Since both plaintiff Tangshan Ganglu Iron & Steel Co. and the defendants are Chinese citizens, it wouldn’t be proper for this case to be heard in U.S. federal court, the judge ruled.

The judge didn’t rule on Ganglu’s allegation that Chen misappropriated $48.7 million of the $50 million in funding that it provided for the project. Ganglu owns 80 percent of Mapuche while Chen owns the other 20 percent. Ganglu wanted a custodian to take over control of the development.

Miami attorney Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, who represents the plaintiff, said she refiled the lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court.

“This was essentially a delay tactic on the part of the defendant to delay the inevitable,” Rodriguez-Taseff said.

The shuttered mall exited Chapter 11 in 2012 with plans for a 660,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 321 N. University Drive in Plantation. The first phase would be a renovated office building.

Even with the federal lawsuit dismissed, the question is whether the project can succeed while its main financial backer, Ganglu, is at odds with Chen.


Source:  SFBJ

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