|By Joe Dejka, Omaha World-Herald,
Neb.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
July 13, 2006 - A Minnesota company claims that a Bellevue hotel owner is using its "unique" plans for a water park without paying for them or getting approval.
USAquatics of Delano, Minn., filed a lawsuit Wednesday asking a judge to declare the plans its property and to stop the hotel owner from using them.
Bellevue Days Inn owner Tom Schmidt said the lawsuit is "bogus," the result of "sour grapes" because he rejected the company's plans as too expensive and is working with another company to build the park.
Schmidt said the lawsuit should not delay the project, which he still hopes to open in October or November.
USAquatics and New Wave Pools of Omaha, also a plaintiff in the case, claim they had oral contracts with Schmidt but were never compensated. New Wave Pools oversaw the design of the plans.
Last November, Schmidt announced that he would build a 30,000-square-foot, 60-foot-tall, dome-covered water park at the hotel, 1811 Hillcrest Drive, which is along Nebraska Highway 370 east of the Kennedy Freeway.
He said the Great Adventure Water Resort would have water slides, a pirate ship in a play area, an adult area with basketball hoops and a bar, a teen island surrounded by a lazy river and a wave pool. It would be open to hotel guests and the public.
In the lawsuit in Sarpy County District Court, the companies allege that the plans were to serve as a template for hundreds of water parks across the United States, provided the companies agreed to sell or franchise the plans.
The companies allege that they provided the plans to Schmidt for his review only, and instead of returning them or paying for them, he used them to begin building the park, soliciting investors and employing contractors.
They want a permanent court injunction prohibiting Schmidt from using or selling the plans.
Schmidt said Wednesday that he sought proposals from four or five companies. He said he rejected the proposal from USAquatics after concluding that it was too expensive.
"We ran the numbers on it, and it didn't make economic sense," he said.
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