Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel has tentative trial date in July on asbestos charges

photo by: Nick Krug

Defendant Thomas S. Fritzel stands behind one of his attorneys as he leaves the Frank Carlson Federal Courthouse in Topeka on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

TOPEKA — Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel is tentatively set to go on trial July 24, 2019, on charges that he and others illegally disposed of asbestos-containing material during a 2016 remodeling of the Alvamar Country Club, now known as the Jayhawk Club.

Fritzel is charged, along with his son Tucker Fritzel and business associates Casey Stewart and Wesley Lynch, with violating the federal Clean Air Act by improperly removing and disposing of asbestos shingles from the roof of the clubhouse.

The indictments, which were handed down June 27, charge each of the defendants with four crimes: conspiracy; failing to notify the Environmental Protection Agency of the project; failing to wet the material before disposing of it; and failing to dispose of the material in leak-tight containers.

If convicted on all counts, the defendants could be sentenced to as much as 17 years in prison and be fined up to $1 million each.

The indictment also names two business entities as defendants: Eagle 1968 L.C., which owns the Jayhawk Club; and DFC Company of Lawrence, L.C., which built the clubhouse in the 1980s and carried out the renovation project in 2016. A third company, R&R Supply Company, L.C., was also named in the indictment but no longer exists and has been dismissed as a defendant.

photo by: Nick Krug

Defendants Wesley Lynch, left, Tucker Fritzel and Casey Stewart leave the Frank Carlson Federal Courthouse in Topeka on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Holly Teeter accepted a request from the defendants to declare the case a “complex case” under federal law, which pushes back the normal speedy trial deadlines.

Typically, in criminal cases in federal court in which a defendant pleads not guilty, trials are supposed to begin within 70 days of the indictment, which would have been Sept. 5. But the defendants asked for the “complex case” designation to give them more time to prepare because of the number of defendants involved, the nature of the crimes charged, the need to bring in expert witnesses and the volume of documents involved in the case.

In their motion, which was filed Sept. 4, attorneys for the defendants noted that the government’s case so far involves more than 4,000 pages of documents and at least 20 witnesses whom defense attorneys need to interview.

In her ruling Tuesday, Teeter noted that the date of the trial could be changed, depending on what other motions the parties file between now and then. She tentatively set aside two and a half weeks for the trial.

In separate indictments that were filed the same day as the one involving environmental crimes, Fritzel also faces conspiracy and tax fraud charges related to his development of The Oread hotel, 1200 Oread Ave. A status conference on those charges is scheduled for Thursday before Judge Daniel Crabtree.

Other recent stories about Thomas Fritzel

• Sept. 6 — In wake of indictment, City of Lawrence seeks to strip contractor license from developer Thomas Fritzel

• Aug. 14 — Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel, associates plead not guilty to federal fraud, environmental charges

• June 29 — KU gave unique rights deal to Fritzel despite fraud investigation being underway

• May 22 — Rock Chalk Park started as $39 million deal for KU; now it may top $100 million

Timeline: Oread tax district dispute

● June 27, 2018 — Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel and others indicted for alleged tax fraud scheme, illegal disposal of asbestos

● May 10, 2017 — Judge officially dismisses city’s lawsuit against The Oread in wake of settlement

● April 28, 2017 — All parties sign settlement in city’s lawsuit against Oread hotel

● April 19, 2017 — City leaders approve Oread hotel settlement that reduces incentives, removes Fritzel from management

● April 14, 2017 — Tentative settlement would reduce incentives to Oread hotel by millions, require Fritzel to resign management duties

● March 29, 2017 — Judge orders conclusion of mediation in Oread hotel lawsuit

● March 6, 2017 — After 10 hours of mediation and executive session, no public update in city’s lawsuit against The Oread hotel

● March 3, 2017 — City leaders to take part in second court-ordered mediation Monday for lawsuit against Oread hotel

● Feb. 22, 2017 — Mediation session does not resolve city’s suit against The Oread hotel; judge orders second session

● Jan. 20, 2017 — Judge orders mediation in city’s lawsuit against Oread hotel

● Dec. 9, 2016 — City’s lawsuit against Oread hotel moved to federal court

● Dec. 4, 2016 — City: Oread hotel developer admitted to much of alleged tax scheme

● Nov. 16, 2016 — Lawsuit against Oread group cites personal purchases, faked sales in alleged scheme to defraud city

● June 9, 2016 — Auditors continue to review Oread sales tax documents; timeline for resolution uncertain

● April 19, 2016 — After Oread kerfuffle, city suggests adding right to audit into future incentive deals

● April 6, 2016 — City awaiting findings from Oread sales tax documents; Fritzel sends letter to community

● March 15, 2016 — Oread developers agree to comply with city demands

● Feb. 22, 2016 — Developer-commissioned analysis: Oread Inn owes fraction of what city says

● Feb. 17, 2016 — Oread group willing to comply with some city demands, asks for meeting ‘immediately’

● Feb. 11, 2016 — Lawrence declares Oread Inn in default of redevelopment agreement; developer says city is in default

● Feb. 10, 2016 — Oread Wholesale submits report about city-ordered audit; record not released

● Jan. 22, 2016 — As deadline passes, city mum about next move on Oread hotel tax dispute; new questions about Oread tenants emerge

● Jan. 19, 2016 — Oread group again contests city’s demands, accuses city of violating state law

● Jan. 6, 2016 — City mum on action against Oread Inn, waiting on last deadline to comply with demands

● Dec. 31, 2015 — Oread group pays nearly $500,000 to city ‘under protest’

● Dec. 30, 2015 — City seeking more than money from Oread group as deadline nears

● Dec. 29, 2015 — Oread group has not yet responded to city letter demanding $500,000; city has discussed issue with law enforcement

● Dec. 16, 2015 — City seeks more than $500,000 from Oread group after audit finds possible violations of state sales tax law

● Dec. 16, 2015 — City overpaid Oread hotel’s development group, mayor says

● Nov. 22, 2015 — Lawrence hires firm to evaluate Oread tax district


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.