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SEASIDE, CA-A Los Angeles-based developer has filed a civil racketeering lawsuit against a Texas-based real estate management company hired by the city to negotiate a new hotel development between the city’s Bayonet and Blackhorse golf courses.

Filed last week in the Superior Court for the State of California in Monterey, the suit claims that several Texas-based individuals, working through BSL Golf Corp., rigged the selection process such that one particular developer candidate would win in exchange for BSL’s 50% ownership of the completed project. The lawsuit was filed by Danny Bakewell and his company, Seaside Hotel and Convention Resort Developers LLC, one of the developer candidates for the hotel project. It is an amended version of an earlier breach of contract lawsuit brought by Bakewell last year.

The suit claims that by February of 1998, even before the management company proposed that it conduct the impartial bidding process at no cost to the city, the company had already agreed with an eventual developer candidate to form a partnership with joint ownership of the hotel and never disclosed any of this to the city.

Eleven companies responded to a request for qualifications to undertake the project. The two finalists, allegedly selected by a committee of four individuals who were all employees of his BSL Golf, were the plaintiff’s group and the group allegedly conspiring with the golf course management group.

The suit states that in March or April of 1999, the plaintiff was told by the defendant that it would lose the bid to develop the hotel if it did not merge its proposal with the other finalist. The plaintiff did ultimately merge his proposal, according to the suit, but was ignorant of the alleged conspiracy.

After forming a new joint venture and obtaining exclusive negotiating right with the city, the suit claims that the group allegedly conspiring with the defendants withdrew from its partnership with Bakewell and attempted to oust him from the project. The city, unaware of the conspiracy, according to the lawsuit, ultimately vote to award the project solely to the alleged conspirators with BSL based on the recommendation of BSL.

Neither the plaintiff nor the defendants could immediately be reached for comment. Bakewell’s original lawsuit sought damages only for his having been forced out of the project without cause. The amended complaint alleges much more serious illegal behavior by the defendants that the plaintiff learned after the original complaint. The amended lawsuit seeks financial damages on all counts, punitive damages for the fraud, and treble damages on counts for which such punishment is applicable under RICO.

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