After 10 hours of mediation and executive session, no public update in city’s lawsuit against The Oread hotel
City of Lawrence leaders and attorneys spent all day Monday in court-ordered mediation for the lawsuit filed by the city against developers of The Oread hotel.
The city is asking for monetary damages of $400,000 and the termination of the hotel’s multimillion-dollar incentive agreement. After close to 10 hours of mediation and executive session, city leaders did not have a public statement to make.
“We have nothing to report,” Mayor Leslie Soden said at the conclusion of the day’s activities.
The special meeting was officially adjourned at 7 p.m., following a two-hour executive session in which commissioners met with the city’s attorneys following mediation. The mediation session included attorneys representing the city, the hotel and a court-appointed mediator, as well as two commissioners.
Prior to beginning mediation, city commissioners voted to appoint commissioners Mike Amyx and Lisa Larsen to represent them in the process. All five members of the commission periodically met in executive session throughout the day with city attorneys to discuss the mediation.
The city filed a lawsuit in November 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.
The mediation was ordered by the judge overseeing the civil lawsuit after the first mediation session failed to resolve the suit. If a final agreement is reached via mediation, it would be subject to approval by the commission in a public meeting. If the parties aren’t able to resolve the lawsuit via mediation, the litigation will go forward.