City takes legal action against Boca
Jim Connelly, principal with Boca Grande Capital

As of last week Tuesday, the city of Ripon and Boca Grande Capital no longer may be partners in downtown redevelopment.

Now, they may be adversaries.

Following last week Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, the council agreed to take legal action against the developer Mayor Gary Will has described as being “in default” of its developer’s agreement.

Officials remain guarded about the specifics, but it appears the city’s attorneys now are awaiting response from Boca regarding some kind of presumably written communication sent recently.

What happens after that, and when, is anyone’s guess.

It all relates to promises made in Boca’s developer’s agreement, signed in fall 2009, which spelled out 10 downtown projects to be completed. In return for that work, Boca received $6.9 million in grants and loans.

Only two such projects were actually completed: renovation and expansion of Roadhouse Pizza, and renovation of the building now used for Boca’s own headquarters.

Since then, all remaining deadlines now have passed without additional projects being completed, while Boca (dba Ripon Renew) has fallen hundreds of thousands of dollars behind in payments to the city.

With Boca principal Jim Connelly’s personal guarantees in effect as of Jan. 1 that payments would be made and projects finished, city officials have agreed to take legal action against Boca.

What that is, however, is unclear, as all city officials are sticking to the party line as the lawyers work.

“Everything was turned over to the attorneys,” Mayor Gary Will said. “... All correspondence has to go through the attorney’s office in Milwaukee.”

Read the full story in the Jan. 23, 2014 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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