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Joplin could face litigation from trucking company over Wallace - KOAM TV 7

Joplin could face litigation from trucking company over Wallace Bajjali fallout

Updated:
The City of Joplin could face litigation over fallout from the departure of Wallace Bajjali.  The matter involves a contract between the former master redeveloper and a trucking company based in Springfield, Missouri.

The trucking company is called Prime Inc.  The company loaned the now defunct Wallace Bajjali up to $5 million to help rebuild Joplin.  The financial collateral agreement was signed by Mark Rohr, Joplin's former city manager, and a member of Joplin's Redevelopment Corporation.

But now, Wallace Bajjali is defunct, and an attorney for Prime says his client still wants money owed to them.  

"Clearly, there are funds due to Prime, underneath the credit facility for Wallace Bajjali," says Richard Walters, an attorney for Prime who specializes in land issues,  "But whether or not the city is responsible for the repayment of that, that's yet to be determined.  I think that the city and Prime are trying to find some mutually inclusive solutions to try to get these projects (redevelopment projects in Joplin) moving, and at the same time provide some incentive funds to Prime to help repay their loan."

We asked Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert why he thought Prime wanted to get involved in Joplin redevelopment, and if he thought it was a way for Prime to get their money back.

"Well, you know, that may be a possible motivator, I'm not going to speak for them.  But if we have an opportunity to have someone that is willing to invest in our redevelopment, I think that's a great thing," says Seibert.

"I think there's some opportunities for, if these projects can move forward, that some of the financial aspects related to Wallace Bajjali and to their agreements can help repay the funds due to prime," says Walters.

But Joplin's mayor says the financial collateral agreement is now void, since the city's contract with Wallace Bajjali is now void.

"The master development agreement has been violated.  So we're no longer under that master developer agreement and so I'll leave that just as there," says Seibert.

We asked Seibert if that was a fact or opinion by city hall.

"Well, I think we have legal opinion on that," says Seibert.

"It gets into some legal technicalities, but there are certain provisions which survived the termination of that agreement (Wallace Bajjali agreement), which are expressly set forth in that agreement (financial collateral agreement)," says Walters.

Joplin could face litigation over this matter.

"That has not been determined yet," says Walters.  "And we're looking for more of a positive solution to that, as opposed to litigation."

Watch the associated video for our full interview with Mayor Seibert.



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