- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - The city of Lawrence has filed a lawsuit to terminate a multimillion-dollar incentive agreement with The Oread hotel, alleging its developer fraudulently collected tax rebates.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday claims developer Thomas Fritzel improperly collected tax rebates for hundreds of unrelated purchases, including landscaping for his home, a cabin in Colorado and the rental of a party tent, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/2gmhYhv ) reported.

The lawsuit, which names Fritzel and three of his associated companies, is based on a report by accounting firm Allen, Gibbs & Houlik.

The city seeks to recoup more than $400,000 in monetary damages and to terminate the incentive agreement with the hotel.

The agreement was intended to at least partially reimburse the developer for infrastructure and parking garage improvements made during the hotel’s construction in 2008. It created a special taxing district that required the city to rebate to the development group a percentage of local sales tax collected in the district.

“The point is to focus on the development rightly within the district itself so that it benefits the folks who are essentially paying for all this, and that’s the residents of the city of Lawrence,” said Bradley Russell, the attorney representing the city.

The lawsuit also asks the court to consider ordering Fritzel and other Oread developers to “cease and desist all association” with the hotel development.

The developers have previously denied the allegations.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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