IN HOT WATER 

Lakeland sues VanderSchaaf for development fees.

The city of Lakeland wants Shelby County commissioner and developer Clair VanderSchaaf to pay up.

In a complaint filed Thursday, April 4th, attorneys for Lakeland claim that VanderSchaaf personally, and in conjunction with several development companies he operates, owes the city $185,270.68 plus interest and attorneys' fees.

"It's pretty cut-and-dried," says Bob Ledyard, the attorney who filed the complaint for Lakeland. "These are fees that Lakeland fronted for development and that VanderSchaaf is contractually bound to pay. I don't know why he hasn't paid yet."

But VanderSchaaf says he hasn't paid Lakeland because he doesn't owe them anything.

"They have no substantiating documents. They're not legitimate fees or bills," says VanderSchaaf. "We've paid all of our fees there like we do with any development."

The issue, according to Lakeland's complaint, is that VanderSchaaf incurred debt when developing four residential neighborhoods in Lakeland. Each of the neighborhoods -- Plantation Hills, Fairway Meadows, Woodland Park, and Paradise Lake -- required water, sewer, and roadway infrastructure to be installed, and Lakeland says that VanderSchaaf agreed to reimburse the city for these up-front costs. In addition, the complaint alleges that VanderSchaaf also "agrees to pay the cost of all engineering, inspection, and laboratory cost[s] incidental to the construction of subdivision streets" and "water service in or to the subdivision."

VanderSchaaf disagrees.

"They had an engineer that went wild with his billing, and they're just looking to collect money from wherever they can get it," he says.

On July 14, 1997, Maurice Azain Jr., the city manager of Lakeland, sent an itemized invoice to VanderSchaaf Development seeking reimbursement for the city's work. On August 24, 1998, James Marco Callahan, responding on VanderSchaaf's behalf, sent a letter to Azain. Callahan's letter offers to donate 11 acres to the city in exchange for dismissing the debt.

VanderSchaaf says that Lakeland did not accept the land donation and that he did not intend for the land gift to be in lieu of payment.

"I was offering park land in several locations just to be a good citizen," says VanderSchaaf. "But since they were claiming that I owed them for these fees, I just said, 'Well, while you're at it ... .'"

He says that he was served with the complaint last week and has not yet spoken with his attorney. By law, VanderSchaaf has 30 days in which to file a response.


Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (Feb. 23-March 1)

Hungry Memphis

Popper Throwdown Set for March 25

Music Blog

Beale Street Music Fest Announces 2017 Lineup

News Blog

Memphians Stage First Public Rebuke of MPD's List

News Blog

TDOT Hosts PG-Rated Highway Safety Message Contest

Hungry Memphis

Beer Bracket Challenge Launches Wednesday

Intermission Impossible

Hamilton in 2019! (Orpheum Also Announces its 2017-18 Season)

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Przybyszewski

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation