City leaders to take part in second court-ordered mediation Monday for lawsuit against Oread hotel

The Oread Hotel, 1200 Oread Ave.

The second court-ordered mediation in a lawsuit filed by the City of Lawrence against developers of The Oread hotel will take place Monday.

The mediation was ordered by the judge overseeing the civil lawsuit after the first mediation session failed to resolve the suit, in which the city is asking for monetary damages of $400,000 and the termination of the hotel’s multimillion-dollar incentive agreement.

On Nov. 16, 2016, the city filed a lawsuit alleging that Oread hotel developer Thomas Fritzel engaged in a fraudulent scheme to generate undue tax rebates from the city. The lawsuit alleges that Fritzel used other companies he controlled to record false retail sales at the hotel for the purpose of collecting additional rebates.

Attorney Brad Russell, who is representing the city in the suit, previously told the Journal-World that according to the City Commission’s regular procedures, any final agreement reached via mediation would be subject to approval by the governing body in a public meeting. If mediation does not result in a resolution or the commission does not approve the resolution, the case will proceed through the litigation process, he said.

The City Commission has called a special meeting to partake in the mediation session. The mediation session will take place in executive session and is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. Monday at City Hall, 6 E. Sixth St.

City Attorney Toni Wheeler said she did not know whether the commission will make a statement at the end of the mediation.