July 16, 2018

After HBJ inquiry, W. Locks pulls plug on $200M mega-sports complex

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
A rendering of All Sports Village in Windsor Locks across a 76-acre lot on Route 20.

This story has been updated to include comment from Andrew Borgia and his attorney.

The chief elected official in Windsor Locks said Monday afternoon that the town has suspended negotiations with the developer of a proposed $200 million sports complex, after the Hartford Business Journal inquired about an ongoing civil lawsuit alleging fraud.

Four investors in a proposed sports complex project in the Long Island town of Islip allege that developer Andrew Borgia and his companies had defrauded them out of $462,000 they had invested in the project.

Borgia is the principal of JABS Sports Management, which recently outlined its vision for an ambitious multi-sport complex in Windsor Locks featuring two roughly 6,000-seat stadiums, turf fields, retail space and hotels.

Windsor Locks First Selectman J. Christopher Kervick sent an email to multiple reporters Monday -- three hours after HBJ had asked him about the suit in New York state court -- saying he's pulled the plug on the project.

"Based on new information obtained, the Town of Windsor Locks is suspending further negotiations with JABS Sports Management, LLC, the proposed developer of All Sports Village," Kervick said.

In a phone call immediately afterward, Kervick said he had previously been unaware of the lawsuit.

Windsor Locks had been preparing to negotiate a property tax abatement deal with Borgia, assuming he was able to put together a suitable financing package for the project. Kervick had said that Borgia was hoping to get funding from the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

Late last week, DECD would only confirm that it has had "very preliminary discussions" regarding the project, declining further comment for confidentiality reasons.

"There's still work to do, a lot of things to be worked out," Kervick had told HBJ earlier Monday.

In the lawsuit, the four investors say Borgia failed to repay their money after he sold an assigned land lease for the proposed $45 million Long Island project to another party. The buyer and the town of Islip are also named as defendants in the complaint.

Borgia's lawyer in the case, Jacques Catafago, provided the following statement Monday evening:

"The suit is utterly frivolous and the Court denied a motion for an Order of attachment in part on our submissions showing that the disgruntled plaintiff has no meritorious claim," Catafago said. "We intend to move for summary judgment because the evidence shows that the plaintiffs failed to perform their obligations under the contracts they signed and one invested a mere $35,000 before defaulting. In short, they are improperly and unfairly trying to benefit on a remarkable deal Mr. Borgia pushed through and they cannot do so under the law due to their material defaults."
On Monday evening, Borgia said by phone that he felt the town is overreacting to the civil suit. He said his attorney hopes to meet with Kervick as soon as possible to discuss the matter.

"Absolutely, I think it's still salvageable," Borgia said. "It's a great project, it's great for the community and the economy."

Like his attorney, Borgia downplayed the significance of the ongoing lawsuit, and said he thinks it will be resolved soon.

"There are so many major companies that get into minor lawsuits," he said. "I have thick skin, so I'm not concerned about it."

The current lawsuit against Borgia isn't the only legal entanglement that has resulted from his sports development activities.

Borgia was a developer in Baseball Heaven, a seven field complex in Yaphank, N.Y. that cost a reported $8.5 million and was completed around 2004.

In 2006, Borgia filed for personal Ch. 11 bankruptcy, and was forced by way of a settlement to sell his 40 percent interest in the project for just over $1 million, and to relinquish his management role in the facility, according to court filings.

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Civil lawsuit against Borgia in New York state court

Borgia's 2006 bankruptcy settlement agreement

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