OLYMPIA - An attorney for Tri Vo has won a temporary restraining order that bars the developer's former business partner from selling Vo's interest in the Lacey Gateway project north of Interstate 5.
Vo’s former business partner J. Scott Griffin Jr. attempted to schedule a sale of Vo’s equity interest in the Lacey Gateway project for $2 million, according to a complaint filed Wednesday by Vo’s attorney, C. Scott Kee, of the law firm Ditlevson Rodgers Dixon in Olympia.
Griffin has alleged that Vo owes him about $10,975,000 on a promissory note, according to Kee’s complaint. “The Vos seek to restrain the sale, alleging that Griffin significantly undervalues the Vos’ equity interest in the property,” Kee said in a phone interview Monday. Kee’s complaint further states that “defendants are not disposing of the collateral in a commercially reasonable manner as required” under state law.
Griffin’s attorney, Arnold Willig of Seattle, could not be reached for comment Monday.
The Vo-managed Hawks Prairie Investment controls about 340 acres north of Interstate 5 near Marvin Road. Vo planned to develop the land into a massive mixed-use development called the Lacey Gateway Town Center. The property has been approved for 1.2 million square feet of office and retail space and 500 residential units. Cabela’s is considered an anchor tenant for the Lacey Gateway Town Center, although Cabela’s owns its property outright, according to records from the Thurston County Assessor’s Office.
Vo’s Hawks Prairie Investment LLC filed for Chapter 11 protection in August. Earlier in November, Vo submitted a Chapter 11 reorganization plan for Hawks Prairie Investment LLC, and the plan “provides for full payment to all creditors by Aug. 15, 2012,” according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington.
In the original Chapter 11 filing, Hawks Prairie Investment LLC showed total assets of $89 million and liabilities of $44.7 million. HomeStreet Bank of Seattle is the largest secured creditor; it is owed about $33 million.
The property identified with the Lacey Gateway project “has a market value of anywhere between $36,000,000.00 and $90,000,000.00,” according to Kee’s complaint.
On Wednesday, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy signed a temporary restraining order barring Griffin’s scheduled sale of Vo’s interest in the project. In Murphy’s order, she found that “the Notice of Disposition of Collateral was not timely and that the sale appears to be commercially unreasonable as defined by statute.”
A hearing is scheduled before Murphy in Thurston County Superior Court at 9 a.m. Friday to consider whether to make the temporary restraining order permanent.
On Monday, Kee emphasized that Griffin’s attempted sale has nothing to do with the real property of the Lacey Gateway project. The party that was scheduled to purchase the collateral in Griffin’s $2 million sale was not identified in Griffin’s notice to Vo’s attorneys, court papers state.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465 firstname.lastname@example.org