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Defense: Joplin residents don't deserve information about Wallace Bajjali right now

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Joplin, MO -

City of Joplin Audit Report

A former master redeveloper being sued by the City of Joplin appears in Jasper County Court.  Costa Bajjali, of the now defunct Wallace Bajjali, is fighting against a lawsuit that includes money the City of Joplin says was stolen by Wallace Bajjali.

Wallace Bajjali was hired as the city's master redeveloper after the tornado.  Then the company, and its workers, left.

There were four city officials in attendance of today's court hearing:  Joplin's mayor, private attorney, and finance director.  Costa Bajjali says he deserves a new trial in the lawsuit case.

Bajjali took the stand, no longer as Joplin's master redeveloper, but as a defendant against a City of Joplin one point four million dollar lawsuit.

"The city has tried over and over again to demonize my client and blame all the mistakes that were made in the recovery efforts on my client.  There were plenty of mistakes made on the city's side," says Bill Fleischaker, a Joplin-based attorney for Bajjali.

Fleischaker contends his client never received a court summons for the lawsuit.  An attorney for the City of Joplin says the summons was mailed to Wallace Bajjali's agent in Missouri, a company that was to communicate with Wallace Bajjali.

The agent could not reach Costa Bajjali.

Bajjali's defense says the city should have then contacted Missouri Secretary of State Office for help, or even mailed the summons to Wallace Bajjali's headquarters in Texas.

But attorneys for Joplin argue when Wallace Bajjali registered to do business in Missouri, they had to provide the Missouri Secretary of State Office with details of a working agent.  That agent never submitted, in writing, a resignation to Missouri's Secretary of State.

Attorneys for Joplin say they did what was required by law to try and communicate with Bajjali.

Bajjali, according to his attorney, did nothing wrong and doesn't owe the city or residents of Joplin anything.

We asked if people are entitled to an explanation of what really happened with Wallace Bajjali.

"No, I do not think people are entitled to have an answer from my client.  I think my client has the right to respond in court where it should be responded to," says Fleischaker.

A judge will decide later if a new trial is needed.

Bajjali's attorney also says the City of Joplin prevented Wallace Bajjali from doing its job as master redeveloper.  You can view our entire interview with Bajjali's attorney by clicking on the associated video.

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