City of Hutto spars with ex-Perfect Game developer in lawsuits

8

Lawsuits and insults are at the center of Hutto’s $800 million Perfect Game development, as filings have been exchanged in Williamson County District Court by the city and original master developer.

Hutto filed action on July 26 against the project’s developer, Wolverine Interests, LLC, claiming breach of contract and seeking restitution of more than $1 million for damages. Wolverine countered with a filing Aug. 26, saying it is owed at least $1 million for work performed and financial considerations for future lost revenue.

Perfect Game will be the anchor tenant for the mixed-use development at Hwy. 79 at CR 132, adjacent to Fritz Park. Sports-related amenities include 24 turf baseball fields, a 61,600-square-foot headquarters, Hall of Fame facility, batting cage pavilion, training facility, dorms, sports technology research and sports medicine research facilities. The land will include hotels, retail, restaurants and residential units.

In a phone interview with Community Impact Newspaper Wednesday night, Dallas-based attorney Blake Beckham said the city of Hutto could be on the hook for millions of dollars in lost revenue for his client, which entered into a development contract with the city on April 29, according to court filings. The countersuit claims “[Hutto City Manager] Odis Jones’ myopic actions jeopardize the entire project and could cost Hutto billions, as his misguided actions may cause Perfect Game to look elsewhere for a venue for its flagship project.”

Beckham said Wolverine remained flexible as the land purchase deals changed, which eventually led to Jones terminating the contract with Wolverine.

“He tried to fire other contractors that are doing a great job,” Beckham said. “He is running around being a bully. He has put the city at risk. He doesn’t know what he is doing.”

Jones, in a release to Community Impact Newspaper Wednesday night, said the city “will not be held hostage or extorted for cash by a group who clearly did not demonstrate the financial and intellectual capacity to perform on a project such as this.”

In the release, city officials and affiliated project partners said they had “jointly lost confidence” in Wolverine following alleged failure “to close on the land needed for the project.” Hutto decided with partners Perfect Game, Sports Facility Advisory|Sports Facilities Management to move forward with a new developer.

“The city entered into development agreements and a purchase and sale agreement with Wolverine, who failed to perform the financial activities needed to close the land and produce a master plan that meets the tax revenues necessary for the city funding requirements, which are essential components for the timely progression of the project,” city of Hutto attorney  Mike Shaunessy said in the release.

Jones also said in the statement that the project will move forward with a new developer, who will be present at Hutto City Council’s Sept. 12 meeting.

Beckham maintains the city paid too much for unzoned farmland and then asked Wolverine to assume the risk before the project was under contract.

“Now, they have cut our ability to make a profit and hurt us in the industry,” Beckham said. “Without notice they breached the contract. I hope for the best for the city of Hutto. But the best would be to get a new city manager.”

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to include the city’s press release information that the decision to move forward was jointly agreed to with the city’s partners, Perfect Game, Sports Facility Advisory|Sports Facilities Management. In addition, the city of Hutto confirmed Sept. 11 that the new Perfect Game developer would be introduced to City Council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

 

Share this story
8 comments
COMMENT
  1. I wonder how much better off these cities like Hutto would be if they didn’t enter into these wildly optimistic development deals, and just let organic growth take its course. This latest incident reminds me of that ill conceived Hawaiian Falls waterpark deal that fell far short of expectations and is still costing Pflugerville taxpayers a great deal of money. When development deals like this go bad, it is usually the result of unbridled optimism from the decision makers on both sides who lack a lot of common sense, who listen to consultants who are paid to tell them what they want to hear. In the case of Pflugerville, they fell for the developer’s BS story that the waterpark was going to turn Pflugerville into a Central Texas tourist destination. That nutty story sounds as ridiculous as Perfect Sports claim’s more recent claim that their new Hutto sports complex was going to bring the city $200 million in new annual revenue, if they could just get the incentive deal they wanted. Common sense would tell you otherwise. Baseball has never been a big game in Central Texas, and Perfect Game wanted to build TWO DOZEN new baseball fields IN THE SAME COMPLEX that would be competing with the marginally successful Dell Diamond just down the road. Perfect Game has probably wised up to this by now, after looking at the actual land purchase costs, and is starting the finger pointing game to cover up their own mistakes. On the bright side, at least this project never got off the ground, which will greatly minimize losses on both sides.

    Pflugerville and Hutto may have made some significant development agreement mistakes in recent history, but it pales in comparison to that Kalahari deal that Round Rock is currently working on. That’s a 975 room hotel, water park, and convention center, which requires at least 75% occupancy to meet their financial objectives. I can’t begin to imagine all the finger pointing that will happen when the next overdue recession hits. I think Round Rock wanted another Dell-sized project that would make the city rich again, but whenever I drive by that Dell complex nowadays, there are significantly less cars in the parking lots than there were 20 some years ago when the place was originally built.

    Why is this “Build it and they will come” attitude so prevalent in Central Texas during recent years? I’m sure the roaring economy has a lot to do with it, as that last major recession is starting to become a distant memory.

  2. Oh I remember the Pflugerville water park hype. Haha! What a joke.

    Organic growth! Yes! Brilliant. I’m sad the farm land is gone, honestly. We will need that one day and won’t be able to find any under all the concrete. Two dozen baseball fields??? Was there a demand? Were 48 baseball teams (imagine any age here) walking around like lost puppies without a place to play? Where is the demand that would dictate this large sports facility is a good decision?

    • I agree, you would need at least 48 teams to put these fields to use and recover a bare minimum for maintenance. It is crazy.

      • It’s really much more than getting 48 teams all together at the same time. They would have to do it often enough to justify the construction cost (and maintenance, as you pointed out.) They might be able to turn it into a Spring Training Camp for Major League Baseball, with the help of the planned adjacent hotel, but most of those MLB teams already prefer the better Spring weather of Florida and Arizona. I remember about 18 years ago the Cowboys were seriously talking about setting up Spring Training Camp in South Texas, and I don’t remember if it ever happened, but I do know that they are now practicing out in California somewhere….

  3. PG is a big deal in select baseball. CONSISTENTLY hosting very large tourneys around the country. Personally been to several at Lakepoint where there were 4 age groups that had over 300 teams per age group for just ONE tourney. Age groups have approximately 8 days to complete their tourney and the next age group begins. If this gets off the ground it is going to pump some MAJOR coin in the surrounding areas. Good or bad thing? All depends…just my two cents. I’m personally looking forward to it. Hope it all works out.

  4. I agree with MD, Perfect Game won’t be pulling teams from Central Texas, but around the nation. Perfect Game has grown as a huge scouting outlet for baseball players who want to get attention, and teams and big time player are willing to travel around the country to make sure they get the recognition they deserve. While I don’t want them to relocate in Hutto, they would attract a LOT of people.

  5. I think our City Planners should do more research and thinking and actual listen to few more people before they decide to spend millions of dollars while they are in “Dreamland”! Doesn’t take a lot of brain power to look down the road to Dell Diamond and see the dwindling number of cars in the parking lot or better yet attend a game where many seats are empty. Maybe better yet look across the road and see a very large Recreational Complex going up. I know a lot of people are moving to this area, but Our president will have to take down what “Wall”he says is already built – and him and the Texas Gov. will just have to be there to welcome all of the people to come on across — we need a lot of people to make these – no fail projects a success for our Community, most of all the Tax payers. I am not for sure about the Perfect Game, it could be the Perfect Scam. Lester (post above) if Perfect Game does make it — believe they are more in the business of identifying each kid – and hope Mom and Dad – has a few hundred dollars to have him looked at as a possible prospect for Major League ball, at another perfect Game facility. They also make thousands of dollars off of products you can buy, books, shirts, gloves, you name it they have it — fixing to use something like they get a cut on — ORDER YOUR MEALS NOW — DISCOUNT CODE PGXXX or https://myteammeals.com/? Hope our City Manager gets us a cut or at least a free Hotdog for Hutto residents.

  6. Odis Jones is a class act of a clown and thief. He pads his pockets at the general publics expense while hiding under the veil of “the public doesn’t know what goes on up here”. People need to dig in out there, do their research, stop being wowed by false promise and will easily find out how corrupt Odis is along with his two dogs in the Police Department Paul and Byron. So odd that there is already a 1mil lawsuit between the perfect game developer and the city but months ago they were hugging each other in the city hall chambers.

Leave A Reply

Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, she relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.
Back to top