BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The city of Bowling Green filed a civil lawsuit Monday in the latest fallout from the WRAP Project, formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza.
The suit names Mills Family Realty, Inc., MR Group, Inc., Chris Mills, Clinton Mills, Ed Mills, and Richard Kelley as defendants, and claims they wrongfully diverted and illegally used bonds funds - which were approved and guaranteed by the city of Bowling Green in connection with the WRAP Project - to establish and operate their own private businesses.
Kelley's attorney, Alan Simpson, says Kelley spent hundred of thousands of dollars of his own money working to transform downtown.
"The lawsuit that has been filed by the city of Bowling Green is a joke. Its frivolous, its fraught with misstatements, half-truths, and many lies. It is an enormous waste of taxpayers funds going after people who did nothing wrong," said Simpson.
The project began plans back in July 2007 consisting of the development of commercial space around a downtown parking structure. Taxpayer dollars were invested into the wrap project as part of the revenue sharing agreement which allows TIF revenues dedicated to the project to be used for debt services.
A 2015 audit came to the conclusion that many of the issues surrounding the project, including a $4.5 million deficit in the project funded by taxpayer money, were due to confusing contracts and lack of oversight.
In the suit the city of Bowling Green cites the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) claiming the defendants engaged in - and inspired to engage in - a pattern of racketeering activity intended to defraud the Plaintiff (City of Bowling Green) out of millions of dollars, while also committing fraud, violating their fiduciary and contractual duties to Plaintiff, and engaging in a civil conspiracy to enrich themselves at the expense of the Plaintiff.