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MCKINNEY, TX-In a tit-for-tat move, O&S Holdings Inc.’s subsidiary McKinney Shores Hotel Partners has accused a former council member and current mayor pro tem of extortion connected with development of the 212-room Westin Hotel in the 90-acre mixed-use Bridge Street Town Centre. McKinneyupdate.com reports that MSHP filed allegations in response to the McKinney Economic Development Corp.’s initial petition for suit filed against MSHP last April.

The developer’s response filed on May 22 in 296th District Court of Collin County, named former council member Thad Helsley, current Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cox, the city of McKinney, the McKinney Community Development Corp. and the McKinney Economic Development Corp. as defendants. The suit’s answer accuses Helsley and Cox of extorting $50,000 from MSHP in late winter 2008, before ground broke on the project’s Westin Hotel at U.S. Hwy. 75 and State Hwy. 121. Construction on the project was halted last October when the developer ran out of funds.

The suit’s answer alleges Helsley and Cox telling O&S Holdings vice president Chris Shane that, to finalize agreements and break ground on the project, “MSHP had to contribute $50,000 to the McKinney Veterans Park Fund. Faced with potential breaches of timing requirements for the ground breaking the next day, MSHP principals had no choice but to capitulate to the councilmen’s extortion request.”

McKinneyUpdate.com reports that Cox declined comment as he had not seen answers to the suit and wished to talk to other city staff. Helsley did not return a call to McKinney Update.com for comment.

Read more about the story here.

The original petition for suit was filed against the developer on April 7 by the McKinney EDC. According to an April 7 article on McKinneyUpdate.com, the McKinney EDC’s suit asked the court to declare that the developers accept loan repayments, remove liens on the property and terminate the master development agreement, which was signed in 2006.

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