Legal, Legislative Victories Highlight Winning Week for New Orleans and the Four Seasons Team
Resounding victories in two state courts, and near unanimous support of reform legislation in the Louisiana State Senate highlight a week of progress for developers of the Four Seasons Hotel and the people of New Orleans.
Fourth Circuit Ruling 3-0-Strong Rebuke to Neil Fisher
In the most decisive legal ruling to date, on Wednesday, Judges Belsome, Bonin and Lombard of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal issued a strong rebuke to Fisher and his case by effectively dismantling their legal arguments and affirming Judge Chase’s June 2015 ruling that the New Orleans Building Corporation’s award of the former World Trade Center building to developers Carpenter – Woodward was proper. The court soundly rejected each and every claim by Fisher’s shell company, TCSI, that the award to Carpenter-Woodward/Four Seasons was improper. This comprehensive ruling made clear the Courts’ determination that TCSI’s legal claims are frivolous. The Fourth Circuit’s unanimous ruling is only the latest in a series of opinions that have confirmed the validity of NOBC’s selection process and its decision to award the World Trade Center project to Carpenter – Woodward. For your convenience, the Fourth Circuit’s opinion is attached.
Senate Approval of Bill 447: 35-1
Of great significance to the people of Orleans Parish, is the legislative success of Senate Bill 447 by Senator Conrad Appel, which sailed through a State Senate Committee late last week and was approved by a vote of 36-1 on the Senate floor on Wednesday. The bill, introduced by Mayor Landrieu and the City of New Orleans, seeks to prevent frivolous lawsuits like Fisher’s from holding up important economic develop projects tied to public benefit corporations such as the New Orleans Building Corporation without the posting of s sizable bond which would be forfeited if the plaintiff fails to prove his or her case in court. Mayor Landrieu and supporters of the Four Seasons project note that the project would likely be farther along, with huge economic benefits for the City, State and local workforce, if such legislation was already in place.Supporters also note that passage of the legislation will have positive ramifications for other public benefits developments being considered in New Orleans including the redevelopment and expansion of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, redevelopment of the former Charity Hospital and work at New Orleans Federal City in Algiers.
Judge Chase Compels Fisher to Show Up for Deposition
On Tuesday, Trial Court Judge Tiffany Chase ruled that Florida resident and plaintiff Neil Fisher must be compelled to attend depositions in New Orleans following seven months of avoiding being deposed. Judge Chase’s ruling means that Fisher, whose frivolous litigation seeks to halt the Four Seasons project and the benefits the $379 million investment the development will bring to the City, must present himself for depositions within 30 days.
Fisher, whose track record of failed projects in New Orleans includes the still vacant Plaza Tower building and the decaying Market Street power station on Tchopitoulas Street, has sued to stop the largest private investment in Louisiana history in favor of his own shell company which he purchased for a mere $10. As reported by the New Orleans Advocate, and the Times Picayune.