Failed River North developer asks judge to remove official assigned to investigate missing funds
Loop North News

(Above left) Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP of The Carillon, which would have replaced George A. Tripp House (above right) at 42 East Superior Street, along with 44 and 46 East Superior Street.

Symmetry Property Development says they are cooperating and the ‘special master’ is no longer needed.

2-Aug-22 – The development company in federal court over nearly $50 million owed to Chinese investors, in a failed bid to build a 60-story residential tower in River North, has asked the judge to remove the court-appointed official assigned to investigate the location of the unreturned funds.

Daniel Hildebrand, an attorney for Symmetry Property Development, says the “special master” assigned by the court “has concluded that defendants entered in the loan transaction intended to fund the class action settlement in this matter in good faith.”

Symmetry, he says, thought they had obtained a $250 million loan in 2021 from investors in the Middle East, and would use some of that money to return the missing $50 million, as agreed in 2021, but could not get the money before the settlement agreement expired.

Karim Mahmoud, an attorney based in Bahrain, was appointed earlier this year by Senior United States District Judge Charles Kocoras to sort through claims made by Symmetry principals Jeffrey Laytin and Jason Ding.

Daniel Hildebrand

“The record presented to the [special master] also shows that defendants truthfully reported their communications with the lender after the loan failed to fund to the Court,” wrote Hildebrand (left) in a document filed on July 18. “Accordingly, the Court’s purpose in assigning this matter to a special master has been satisfied, and there is no reason or need for any further work by the [special master].”

Douglas Litowitz, who along with attorney Glenn Dunn is representing the Chinese investors, says the court filing is just a stall tactic by Hildebrand on behalf of his clients and he believes his clients’ money was siphoned off long ago.

Individually, investors in the failed project had put in as much as $550,000. They were participating in a federal program, EB-5, which provides foreign investors with a fast-track to permanent U.S. residency status.

The project, Carillon Tower, proposed for the corner of Wabash & Superior, failed to win city approval in 2017 and a group of buildings that would have been demolished and replaced by the tower have subsequently been included in a newly created landmark district.

 Previous story: Funding diverted to personal accounts, says attorney for investors in River North tower

• Contact Peter von Buol at insidepublicationschicago@gmail.com

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