AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The City of Amarillo said it is finally closing a controversial chapter of downtown Amarillo involving former master developer Wallace Bajjali.
It's been a little over a year since Wallace Bajjali Development Partners unexpectedly closed shop and disappeared. Since then, the city has been sitting on money still owed to the company, not knowing what to do with it.
Wallace Bajjali no longer exists, but the city still owes the developer $177,500. Right before dissolving, the company reached a benchmark in their contract by making architecture and engineering agreements to build the downtown parking garage. That triggered a payment -- a payment creditors went after.
In response, the city filed a lawsuit to sort the matter out.
"There's a creditor that wants the money and Wallace Bajjali wants the money and we did not want to get involved in that fight," said council member Randy Burkett. "So we tendered that money to the court to let the court decide who would get that money."
Wednesday, a settlement was reached and the city can now wash its hands of Wallace Bajjali. "Now it's all settled," said Burkett. "The court's going to decide where that $177,500 goes and the court also awarded us most of our attorney fees back that we spent. We no longer have to say the words Wallace Bajjali in this town again."
With the end of the Wallace Bajjali saga, Burkett said the city can now focus on moving forward with downtown. Thursday, the city started accepting bids for a company to build the downtown parking garage and surrounding retail space. "We've got a great city staff moving forward, a great city manager who is on top of it and I just see real good things ahead from this point on," said Burkett.
In total, the city said it paid Wallace Bajjali a little more than $924,000 for work the developer completed.