NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES
IRVING — The Las Colinas Group, private developers of the proposed Las Colinas Entertainment Center, have missed a critical deadline for raising $50 million in private equity to help fund the $250 million music, restaurant and night club venue.
Now, more serious questions about funding have surfaced.
The development agreement between the developers, the Las Colinas Group and the City of Irving stipulates the private partners were to have secured $50 million in financing by September 30, 2010, with a closing date of December 31, 2010.
If the deadline is missed, "then the partnership will use commercially reasonable efforts to obtain a replacement," according to the Development Agreement.
Project opponent and former Irving Mayor Joe Putnam believes this means the current developers — including controversial concessionaire Billy Bob Barnett — should be removed from the project.
"If, in fact, the Las Colinas Group has not secured their funds and closed their funds and have money in the bank somewhere, then as I read that, they are no longer part of the deal," Putnam said.
The Las Colinas Group has confirmed it has missed the deadline.
"The Partnership continues to make good progress in finalizing an equity partner for the Project," said company spokesman Jonathan Morgan.
The company blames its tardiness on a "lawsuit initiated from California by a competitor."
Morgan said "we are moving forward aggressively to complete the pre-development phase of the process."
But there is still no word from anyone at City Hall about the missed deadline. Neither the Mayor nor any council members returned our calls.
A forensic audit on the questionable project expenditures is expected to be released sometime this month.