Stan Thomas: legal woes a 'bizarre situation'

By JEFF BISHOP jbishop@newnan.com In what Coweta-based developer Stan Thomas called "a bizarre situation," he spent the Christmas season wondering if he might be sent to jail on a contempt of court charge that came from a New York judge in late December. Thomas told The Times-Herald he has resolved the matter now so he won't be facing any time behind bars.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle noted this week that Thomas, who has faced legal battles with Banc of America Leasing, Wells Fargo Bank and other lenders, was told he would face jail time if he did not comply by Jan. 20 with a contempt order issued by Judge Shira Scheindlin. "We are appealing the case," said Thomas, who said he was limited in what he could say since it's an ongoing legal matter. "But we are bonding it, so effectively this will go away in the next few days," he said. As for the case itself, Thomas said, "Sacramento is what it's all about ... it's all Sacramento." The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the contempt order stems from a 2009 lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Thomas and one of his corporate entities. The plaintiffs, Venice, Calif.-based Jerde Development Co. and associated executives, had partnered with Thomas to develop a project called the Railyards in Sacramento, Calif. In the lawsuit, Jerde and the executives said that Thomas and S. Thomas Enterprises of Sacramento LLC breached the terms of their operating agreement for the Railyards project. Thomas has had financial difficulties with the Railyards -- one of his companies defaulted in June on a $187 million loan balance for the project. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Scheindlin on Oct. 12 issued a $13.5 million judgment in the case in favor of Jerde. Since that time, according to Scheindlin's contempt order, Thomas transferred a $6.5 million promissory note, backed by real estate Thomas owns in the Cayman Islands, to an unrelated lender, in violation of the judgment. Scheindlin ordered Thomas to transfer $6.1 million and other considerations to Jerde. If Thomas didn't comply by Dec. 30, he would be fined $10,000 per day. If he doesn't comply by Jan. 20, he will be jailed. Thomas said it's a "bizarre situation" that he hopes to be finished with very soon. "It's always a fight," Thomas said, "but hopefully things are beginning to turn."


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