Randy Wang, the developer and owner of the Piazza at Temple City project, has decided to sue the City of Temple City. Wang and his legal team, Monteleone and McCrory, LLC, launched a lawsuit against the City and the Temple City Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on September 9, 2008.
In the lawsuit, Wang alleges that the “consent to the [Owner-Participatory Agreement/Developer’s Agreement] was procured through duress, fraud, menace, and undue influence.”
“The public interest will be prejudiced by permitting the OPA/DA to stand” stated Wang in an effort to urge the judge to dismiss the Owner’s Participatory Agreement (OPA) and the Developer’s Agreement (DA).
With less than a year until a City-imposed and developer-agreed deadline, Wang and the Piazza team are running out of time.
Wang adds in his suit, “They [the City officials] knew the project deadline they set was unrealistic.”
According to the Developer’s Agreement, the Piazza at Temple City must be complete by August 23, 2009. If the project is not finished, the City will have the option of purchasing the parcel for $5 million.
The Piazza at Temple City, formerly known as the “Piazza Las Tunas” and “Temple City Galleria” once promised 52 one-bedroom condominiums and a complex shopping center at the site of the former Temple City Edwards cinema.
The controversial mixed-used project was approved by a previous City Council in May 2006. Its first major challenge came from a group of Temple City residents who launched a referendum drive to put the project to a city-wide vote.
Since its arrival, there have been two groundbreakings and two construction management firms hired to complete the Piazza. A & W Builders, the most recent firm hired by Wang, was discovered to have cut ties with the Piazza development in July 2008.
On September 16, 2008, the City Council of Temple City and Temple City CRA held a closed session meeting to discuss Wang’s suit and its allegations. The Piazza developer’s allegations also include a $3000 bribery case concerning a City official.
After emerging from the closed session, Joseph Buchanan, the City of Temple City’s legal counsel, acknowledged that serious allegations had been made. Buchanan added that both the City of Temple City and the Temple City CRA deny the allegations written in the lawsuit.
It remains unclear whether the $75 million Piazza development will move forward in light of recent circumstances.
This article was written by Matthew Wong. It will be published in the Temple City Voice on January 16, 2009.