Lawyers Banking From Hawthorne Project

Developers hoped to build a bowling alley here at the Hawthorne. Currently, it’s a sort of makeshift skateboard park.

The Hawthorne puzzle is slowly coming together, but in the end it will be the lawyers coming out on top and the developers and contractors wringing their hands.

Some four years ago, the Hawthorne developers were counting on a series of loans to build a “family entertainment center” (bowling alley) next to the Carmike movie theater behind Wal-Mart. One loan in particular, from Summit Bank of Kansas City, never materialized.

Thus, several contractors went unpaid. Morford Steel Systems Construction Company, the general contractor, was owed nearly $1.3 million. Hilty Quarries Inc., of Clinton, a subcontractor for the project, was out $304,487.

Morford and Hilty filed mechanic’s liens to halt any progress on the lot until they got paid. Another subcontractor, Summit Specialty Projects Inc., and an architect, Davidson-Brown, dismissed their claims in the case. The developers, Hawthorne Land Co. IV and Hawthorne Development, sued Summit Bank in October 2010 for not making good on the loan.

Well, Judge James F. Kanatzar tossed out the lawsuit on April 10.

Meanwhile, Judge Jacqueline A. Cook sorted out the mechanic’s liens in February, ruling in favor of the contractors over M&I Bank to determine who will own the property. The new owners will be Morford and Hilty.

However, these two continue to duke it out, haggling over foreclosure details. Thus, a hearing on this issue is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. June 14 at the Johnson County Justice Center in Warrensburg.

So, what happens next is uncertain. It is likely the new owners will sell the lot in hopes of recouping some of their money.

“The only people making money off this deal are the attorneys, because all of the parties involved in this lot are not going to be made whole, I can tell you that,” said Morford’s lawyer, Ryan Fry, of Oswald, Roam, Rew & Fry in Blue Springs. “I don’t have any clue what the purchase price for this piece of property in Warrensburg would be, but if it was to satisfy all of the mechanic’s liens that are currently pending we would all be very fortunate.”

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  1. #1 by Ben Pierce on May 8, 2012 - 8:24 pm

    I’m glad you keep following this story, Matt. It would be instructive to see how CEAH real estate company and its principals came out in all this. The ultimate irony would be if CEAH lists the property on behalf of Morford and the other claimants and then the principals further profit on this whole project when they sell part of the property that they set up under Hawthorne Development TDD. http://www.fpr.net/fulfillment/pdf/post_pos_hawthorne_development_tdd.pdf

  2. #2 by rmkinder on May 12, 2012 - 12:15 pm

    I’m interested in this situation, too, and hope you keep us posted. I like the Carmike, but the empty business spaces don’t speak well for Warrensburg. I wondered who was losing money and am sorry that some of the losers are people who have done their work and supplied the materials.

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