Developer Alig avoids prison time with plea deal

A prominent Indianapolis developer who pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of securities fraud received a four-year suspended sentence Monday morning and was ordered to repay victims $321,000.

Cornelius “Lee” Alig, CEO of Mansur Real Estate Services Inc., originally was charged in April 2015 with 20 felonies, including several counts of securities fraud and theft.

At his sentencing, Alig, 60, told Marion Superior Court Judge Marc Rothenberg that he’s ashamed of his actions.

“I’m not blaming anyone; I brought it all on myself,” he said. “I’m not seeking to avoid punishment.”

The judge ordered Alig to pay $100,000 of the restitution immediately and also sentenced him to 300 hours of community service.

“I could put you in the Department of Correction, but that makes absolutely no sense,” Rothenberg said. “What I see here is an opportunity for you to not only be held accountable but to help the community.”

Rothenberg recommended Alig, an architect by trade, serve his community service speaking to students in public schools about “your skill set.”

“You are a very unusual person coming into this courtroom,” the judge told Alig. “You enjoy a privilege, in a sense, that most who come through those doors and sit in that chair do not have. But it doesn’t mean money; it means knowledge.”

Alig’s sentence stems from a probable-cause affidavit alleging he made false representations when borrowing on eight promissory notes from 2008 through 2012.

Prosecutors said Alig secured the notes with property he did not own nor have permission to use as collateral. One of the notes was issued in April 2012, just weeks before Alig filed for personal bankruptcy, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Alig also was accused of forging a promissory note for $75,000 by using a former employee’s notary seal without permission and without having been registered as a broker-dealer with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office.

Alig told the judge Monday that, before the recession, he had a “good” reputation and that “he wanted to make everyone whole,” but ultimately, what he did “was reckless.”

Rothenberg said he considered several factors before handing down the suspended sentence, including Alig’s contributions to the community, his lack of a criminal history, his intentions to make restitution, and that the crimes likely won’t happen again.

Alig co-founded Mansur Real Estate Services with Harold Garrison in 1982. Garrison, who later parted ways with Alig and launched HDG Mansur, is facing his own financial troubles and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October.

Alig has developed several well-known commercial and residential projects in the downtown area, including Market Tower and WFYI’s headquarters on North Meridian Street.

His residential projects include Fall Creek Place, The Conrad Indianapolis condominiums, and Janus Lofts on South Meridian Street.

The plea agreement requires Alig to pay $106,000 to John Haskins of Firehouse Properties LLC, $95,000 to Dave Newcomer of Auction Broadcasting Co., $70,000 to John Watson of Core Redevelopment, and $50,000 to Steve Jones.

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