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Settlement could be in the works for troubled Riverdale marina

Workers paint fresh stripes repaved parking lot Dixie Star Restaurant MarinRiverdale Illinois Monday May 14 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times

Workers paint fresh stripes on the repaved parking lot at the Dixie Star Restaurant and Marina in Riverdale, Illinois, Monday, May 14, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media ia

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Updated: October 16, 2013 6:45AM



The owners of a beleaguered Riverdale marina are in talks with the village to sell the property and settle a lawsuit the village filed against it last year, the SouthtownStar has learned.

John Thomas, who is named in the lawsuit as one of the marina owners, said Friday he plans to sell the property within the week and use a portion of the proceeds to settle a fraud lawsuit the village filed against his company seeking $900,000.

“I wish everyone does the best over there,” said Thomas, a felon. “It didn’t work out for me and that’s it.”

Matt Welch, an attorney representing the village, confirmed that a settlement agreement is in place and said it will only be executed if the property is sold.

He refused to disclose the settlement details.

As part of the settlement, a portion of the proceeds from the sale would go to pay back the village, although neither Welch nor Thomas would say how much.

Riverdale officials filed a lawsuit against Nosmo Kings in October 2012, claiming that Thomas and his partner — the owners of the company — defrauded the village out of $900,000. The village also sought control of the property.

Nosmo Kings bought the marina and a restaurant on the Little Calumet River in August 2011 and announced a plan to redevelop it. The plan called for as much as $5.5 million worth of renovations. In exchange for the company’s investment in the property, the village agreed to reimburse Nosmo Kings for project-related expenses. Nosmo Kings received $900,000 from the village.

The SouthtownStar previously reported that a village-financed accounting report found that Nosmo Kings submitted about $1.8 million in project-related expenses to the village — about $1.2 million short of what the company had agreed to spend on the marina to receive any taxpayer money at all.

Among other things, the report found that about $647,000 of the submitted expenses were ineligible for reimbursement, lacked supporting documentation or were not specifically associated with the project. A Cook County Circuit Court judge appointed a receiver for the property on July 22 at the village’s request.

The ruling was made two months after an attorney representing Nosmo Kings filed a motion arguing against the appointment of a receiver.

The motion says Nosmo Kings attempted to sell the property to a company called The Best Kept Secret for $4.1 million. The deal fell apart after the village “raided” the marina property during Super Bowl weekend this year, the motion says.

“After the village ejected the marina patrons and removed them from the property, the village ‘graciously’ decided there was no problem after all, and that the Super Bowl festivities could continue,” the court filing states. “The prospective purchaser refused to close on the deal after the senseless and punitive raid on the premises.”

Riverdale Mayor Lawrence Jackson called the appointment of a receiver a “step in the right direction.”

“We still haven’t recovered our $900,000,” said Jackson, an outspoken critic of the marina ownership under Nosmo Kings. “The whole thing was a big disappointment for the residents of Riverdale. A huge disappointment.”



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