Downtown developer Boca Grande Capital LLC is in a heap of trouble.

   The city of Ripon is suing Boca’s development arm, Ripon Renew, for unspecified damages, as well as its principal, Jim Connelly of Milwaukee. The case was filed last week Thursday.

   The complaint filed specifies the city seeks an amount “the court may deem just and equitable under the circumstances.”

   A day later, Badgerland Financial of Prairie du Sac, Wis., began foreclosure proceedings on Boca’s headquarters at 303-305 Watson St. 

   Both cases will be heard in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.

   A message sent Tuesday to Connelly to respond to the cases was not returned as of press time.

   The legal cases come 4 1/2 years after Connelly signed a developer’s agreement stating Ripon Renew would embark on 10 redevelopment projects; he also signed a personal guarantee spelling out financial consequences to himself if the work did not occur.

   Ultimately, only two of the 10 projects were completed.

   The parallel timing of each filing was not by design.

   “Pure coincidence,” Mayor Gary Will said. “We [handed] this over to our attorney well over a month ago ... It’s just a coincidence that last week was the day in their timeline [to file the lawsuit].”

   The mayor explained he has mixed emotions about the legal steps being taken.

   “It’s a sad day because the bill of goods sold to the city did not happen, and it’s a sad day for the community, coming to this,” he said. “On the other hand, I see this as the beginning of the future, to get through this. We can start healing and move on.”

Read the full story in the Feb. 27, 2014 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.