|By Douglas Hanks, The Miami
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 3, 2009 - Robert Falor, the Chicago developer who championed condo-hotels in South Florida before reversals sank his portfolio, was indicted in Ohio for an alleged scam involving a Chicago project.
A would-be investor from Cuyahoga County, Michael Voll, claims he paid Falor $400,000 for a stake in a venture that would convert the Hyatt Printers Row hotel into a condo-hotel, where units are sold individually.
But in charging him with theft, prosecutors claim Falor had no ownership in the Hyatt project at the time of Voll's investment and spent the money elsewhere, said spokesman Ryan Miday.
Falor could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 12, and has been sent a summons for the court date, Miday said. The theft charge, a felony, carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Chris Falor, Falor's brother and former business partner, issued a statement by e-mail Monday evening stating the Hyatt was under contract at the time of the alleged theft. "This matter will be resolved upon the proper facts being disclosed and reviewed," the statement said.
The indictment marks the biggest legal setback yet for Falor, 41, who has faced court fights with partners over projects across the country. In South Florida, he has feuded with partners at the Royal Palm and Breakwater, two failed Falor condo-hotel conversions in South Beach. The Breakwater went bankrupt and the Royal Palm faces a repossession fight by a lender.
The Printers Row project was one of Falor's highest-profile ventures, slated to become a hotel named after celebrity socialite Nicky Hilton. Falor also planned to remake the Breakwater into a Nicky O hotel.
The two later ended up in a court fight over the failed conversions.
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