Memo: Unpaid contractors demanding payment from Premier Properties

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Premier Properties USA Inc. is scrambling to keep up with bills for basic services including snow removal, security and interior design—more signs of financial troubles for the developer of Metropolis in Plainfield and the proposed Venu project in Indianapolis.

The local firm is facing liens of more than $3.5 million for unpaid work on its Plainfield retail properties, and an internal e-mail obtained by IBJ suggests Premier’s problems don’t stop there.

The e-mail, from Premier executive Mike Diamantides, says pressure from unpaid contractors “heightened” after a Dec. 17 IBJ story that detailed Premier’s mounting financial and legal troubles. Diamantides, who did not return a phone message, said in the e-mail that partial payments should help persuade several vendors to continue service.

A few examples: Diamantides suggests $5,000 to get locally based Studio 3 Design “off the critical list.” Premier owes the company between $8,000 and $10,000 for tenant build-out at the Woodfield Crossing office complex.

Others owed money include Maryland-based property maintenance firm Brickman Group ($54,000 for snow removal at Woodfield Crossing), and Cincinnati-based Blue Chip Pavement Maintenance ($70,000 for work on Premier’s 635,000-square-foot Bridgewater Falls retail center in suburban Cincinnati). Diamantides suggested payments of $26,000 and $25,000 for the maintenance firms.

The memo goes on to say that paying $4,000 on a $9,000 invoice should get Cox Advertising “off our backs.” And it says payment of $15,000 should suffice for Rocky T’s Security in Las Vegas, which is owed more than $30,000 for securing a development site.

“Seedy area,” Diamantides wrote. “If security pulls off and problems develop we could get unwanted media attention.”

The firm’s owner, Roland “Rocky T” Thurber, said in a phone interview that Premier will get more than bad press if it doesn’t pay up.

Premier hired Rocky T’s in October to secure a run-down development site with vacant homes a few blocks from the Las Vegas strip. Vandalism was rampant, and homeless people were starting fires.

Premier ignored Thurber’s first invoice, for $5,300. After a second invoice, for $12,240, and an angry phone call, the company sent Thurber a check for $10,000. But Premier still hasn’t paid for December or January.

Thurber said he’s done working with Premier if he doesn’t get his money by the end of January.

“If you’re a company that has resources to buy properties, I’m not understanding why they aren’t paying their bills,” Thurber said. “If they don’t pay, we will go to court and get our money. To me, it’s just bad business. If you’re coming into Vegas trying to do projects, the last thing you want to do is screw people over.”

The Premier e-mail discusses three Premier properties. It says employees at three other high-profile developments—Plainfield’s Metropolis, Marquis in Virginia, and The Foundry in Pennsylvania—are putting together their own lists of service providers that are owed money. IBJ could not obtain copies of those lists.

Premier CEO Christopher P. White did not return phone messages for this story. In a December interview, White acknowledged tightening credit markets had taken a toll on Premier. But he said troubles have not hindered the viability of the 300-employee company.

In late 2007, contractors filed more than $3.5 million in liens against Premier’s retail properties in Plainfield, including the $120 million lifestyle center called Metropolis. On Jan. 18, Indianapolis-based engineering and surveying firm Schneider Corp. added another lien, for $12,500. None of the liens had been released as of Jan. 23.

The unpaid bills seem to call into doubt Premier’s ability to develop its $750 million Venu, a 2.4-million-square-foot retail, office and residential proposed for the southwest corner of 82nd Street and Keystone Avenue.

But not everyone working for Premier has gone unpaid. Locally based Halakar Properties has been paid in full for brokering lease deals at Premier’s Woodfield and Metropolis office buildings, said Todd Maurer, Halakar’s president.

Maurer said Premier’s financial outlook remains strong.

“They were affected by the credit crunch, as most companies are,” he said. “They’re working through it. They always end up paying everybody everything they owe.”
Officials at most of the companies trying to collect from Premier declined to comment.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Liberals do not understand that marriage is not about a law or a right ... it is a rite of religous faith. Liberals want "legal" recognition of their homosexual relationship ... which is OK by me ... but it will never be classified as a marriage because marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. You can gain / obtain legal recognition / status ... but most people will not acknowledge that 2 people of the same sex are married. It's not really possible as long as marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

  2. That second phrase, "...nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens..." is the one. If you can't understand that you lack a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and I can't help you. You're blind with prejudice.

  3. Why do you conservatives always go to the marrying father/daughter, man/animal thing? And why should I keep my sexuality to myself? I see straights kissy facing in public all the time.

  4. I just read the XIV Amendment ... I read where no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property ... nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens ... I didn't see anything in it regarding the re-definition of marriage.

  5. I worked for Community Health Network and the reason that senior leadership left is because they were not in agreement with the way the hospital was being ran, how employees were being treated, and most of all how the focus on patient care was nothing more than a poster to stand behind. Hiring these analyst to come out and tell people who have done the job for years that it is all being done wrong now...hint, hint, get rid of employees by calling it "restructuring" is a cheap and easy way out of taking ownership. Indiana is an "at-will" state, so there doesn't have to be a "reason" for dismissal of employment. I have seen former employees that went through this process lose their homes, cars, faith...it is very disturbing. The patient's as well have seen less than disireable care. It all comes full circle.