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Joplin School district officials consider suing Wallace Bajalli - KOAM TV 7

Joplin School district officials consider suing Wallace Bajalli over lost tax revenues

Updated:
   The Joplin school district has its lawyers looking into a possible lawsuit against Wallace Bajjali and its founding partners.

The superintendent says the master developers failure is costing the school district.

The superintendent says despite some new housing and new businesses, there's no tax money for the district because of the Super TIF which came  at the urging of David Wallace.

Superintendent C.J. Huff says,  "It's  real money, real tax dollars that we're voter approved for the school district that are now going to the super TIF."

Property taxes from new homes or businesses in the TIF district, which includes most of the tornado zone, are rerouted from the district to the TIF.

Last year those taxes added up to $440, 000 dollars. This year that could reach one  million dollars.

The district was originally against the TIF because it would mean lost property tax revenues.

But the superintendent says in a Memorandum of Understanding,   David Wallace committed to paying the district thirteen million dollars in the third year of the TIF.

Huff says, "We're anxious about that issue and disappointed in the developer, specifically David Wallace. No question,  that everybody who has dealt with the master  developer at this point and the lack of progress would agree that that the this community's  been misled to a large degree.”

Huff says Wallace anticipated additional sales tax and property tax revenues  from projects like the 20th street theatre, beyond the bond repayment , would be used  to create the special fund to pay the district its loss tax dollars.

Huff says the district is looking into suing. “We've  been in contact with legal  counsel looking at our position in relationship to the memorandum of understanding.  And all the other documents associated with the TIF, to draft an initial letter seeking damages  from Wallace Bajjali relates to misrepresentation of the facts as it applies to the super TIF.

The superintendent says the problem multiplies  as the student population grows and becomes a drain on resources needed to teach students.

And whether or not the lawsuit is successful, huff says the district will operate as leanly as possible and look for new ways to generate revenue.

The TIF district $18 million dollar bond monies have been used to acquire property and match certain grant funds.

     There have been no TIF funded projects or businesses that produce tax revenues at this time.
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