Posted: 04/19/2012, By Alia Wilson, Sunnyvale Sun
While further development of the Sunnyvale Town Center appears to be stalled, a legal case surrounding the project continues to move along in court.
Indeed, behind the scenes and inside the courtroom, the case has seen nothing but development in the last few months.
San Jose attorney Ron Rossi, representing developer Peter Pau, contends that the mammoth project is free to move forward at any time, despite the public perception that the lawsuit between Pau and court-appointed receiver Jerry Hunt impedes any progress toward completion.
The court-appointed receiver is scheduled to present to the court its final accounting of the Town Center receivership on May 17. If the judge accepts the report and discharges the receiver, then Hunt cannot be challenged legally any further.
Pau’s counsel voiced concerns to The Sun that Pau is being blamed for the hold-up, saying all he wants is to finish the job he started years ago. “It’s like I’m the villain causing suffering,” Pau said. “People are asking, ‘Did I do this out of selfish reasons, out of a vendetta or spite or to extort money?’ That’s the impression people are getting. I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever sued. “Unfortunately, I don’t have an excuse for what happened other than the economy is bad, but unlike Rreef I’m trying to make up for what happened.”
Pau, principal of San Mateo-based Sand Hill Property Co., formed a partnership with Rreef,the realty investment wing of Deutsche Bank’s asset management division, to purchase the Town Center.
Hunt, of Danville-based Quattro Realty Group, was appointed receiver of the project in October 2009 after the partners defaulted on a $108.8 million loan from Wachovia Bank, now Wells Fargo.
On June 6, the court denied a motion to approve the sale of the property through a receivership, giving Pau another shot at bidding for the property. But Pau did not bid because he wanted more time to work out an agreement with Rreef regarding the loan payoff, Rossi said. Pau is also being counter-sued by Rreef.
The 36-acre mixed-use project was picked up by Wells Fargo in a foreclosure sale on Aug. 15.
According to Quattro attorney Chris Hunter, the company stands by its actions throughout the process.”The receiver has complied with all orders of the court, one of which was authorizing the sales-marketing process and opening it to any and all bidders, including Mr. Pau,” Hunter wrote in an email. “The court granted the authority to the receiver to market and sell the property in October 2010. There were no objections by Mr. Pau or any other parties to the order of the court authorizing the receiver to market and sell the property. “In fact, Mr. Pau’s objections did not occur until much later in May 2011, after the receiver had concluded the court-authorized sales process and signed a purchase agreement.”