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Joplin faces possible financial stipulation after Wallace Bajjal - KOAM TV 7

Joplin faces possible financial stipulation after Wallace Bajjali exit

Updated:
"Prime Inc." Springfield, MO "Prime Inc." Springfield, MO

Update:  A clarification from Joplin's city manager

"...to follow up on our interview and to clarify the story that aired, the collateral assignment doesn't obligate the the city to pay back the $5 million that WB borrowed from Prime. Rather, it merely assigned any financial rights of the now-defunct master predevelopment contract to New Prime as collateral to the loan that WB took.  Any fees that were paid by the city to WB after the collateral agreement was signed went directly to Prime per the instructions in the agreement that you have."

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The City of Joplin could be forced to pay back money that was loaned to former master redeveloper Wallace Bajjali.  City officials say in 2012, a company loaned Wallace Bajjali up to five million dollars to help redevelop Joplin.  Now that Wallace Bajjali is no longer financially solvent, it appears this company wants the City of Joplin to pay this money back.Details of this loan were put into a contract signed by the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation and former City Manager Mark Rohr, on behalf of the City of Joplin.

The company that loaned Wallace Bajjali money was Prime Incorporated, a trucking company based in Springfield, MO.

According to the contract, Prime would be paid back with a commission from land sold to developers.  But Wallace Bajjali is no longer around, and city officials say Prime still wants their money from the City of Joplin, since the city signed this contract.  

Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm says he found out about this contract two weeks ago.  Anselm, who was assistant city manager in 2012, doesn't think it was odd then City Manager Mark Rohr made no mention of this contract to him.

"No.  It wasn't my focus.  We had a division of labor and responsibilities, so I was able to work on a lot of the other issues.  No.  I forget, I've been interim in so many different times.  Interim hr director, interim public works director," says Anselm.

Anselm says it appears Prime could either sue the city or be a part of Joplin's future redevelopment plans in order to get back their money.

"Certainly if Prime were interested in some sort of working with the city, I would be interested in having a conversation not just with them but really with any qualified and reputable developer that would be interested in helping Joplin recover," says Anselm.

Representatives of Prime Incorporated have not returned our calls for comment.

Members of Joplin's City Council say they, too, were not aware of this contract until two weeks ago.
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