The Colorado Springs City Council is moving forward with its $53 million deal with LandCo Equity Partners to build a new headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee despite a lawsuit the developer filed against it last week.
The council held a closed-door meeting Monday to discuss the suit and other legal and financial problems involving the project. Councilwoman Jan Martin said afterward that the city plans to “just keep moving forward on the deal we have.”
Mayor Lionel Rivera added the city’s strategy is “to do what we promised the USOC a year ago.”
LandCo filed suit against the USOC and the city Friday in federal court in Denver, alleging they have failed to hold up their end of the deal.
Among other things, the company claims the city has failed to reimburse it for money spent buying and renovating the new headquarters building, and that LandCo faces losing the building because it can’t repay a construction it took out to do the work.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and asks the court to force the city and the USOC to comply with the agreement’s terms.
LandCo, the city and the USOC agreed to the $53 million plan in March 2008 with the goal of keeping the sports organization in Colorado Springs for 25 more years.
Under the agreement, LandCo is renovating an empty building into a six-story USOC headquarters and remodeling another building to house national governing bodies for Olympic sports. It also is to make $16 million in improvements to the USOC’s training center.
Councilman Tom Gallagher said the city remains “committed to keeping the Olympic committee here.”
“It’s our star; it’s our crown jewel,” Gallagher said. “It doesn’t belong in Chicago. It doesn’t belong in New York. It doesn’t belong in Houston or Los Angeles. It belongs in Colorado Springs.”
He said the city, LandCo and the USOC have “different priorities” and the developer and its executives are “frustrated.”
“But let’s be fair,” Gallagher said. “All the other crap aside, investments are investments, and they are the only guys that have anything in this thing. They’ve got millions pumped into it.”
Last week, the El Paso County district attorney’s office said LandCo and its chairman, Ray Marshall, were the subjects of a criminal investigation. It declined to release details.
LandCo has said the investigation stems from disgruntled investors who made “baseless and unfounded” allegations against Marshall.