On Monday, a DeKalb County jury ordered the city, its mayor and city manager to pay roughly $6 million in damages to a real estate developer and two homeowners for purposefully stalling a townhome development project.
The jury found the city intentionally derailed the 226-unit project along Buford Highway because the developer, Atlanta-based The Ardent Companies, wouldn’t participate in what they called a pay-to-play kickback.
Simon Bloom, Ardent’s attorney, argued the city officials abused their positions of power and ignored multiple conflicts of interest.
“(Cities) always want a concession… that’s normal and part of the everyday process,” he told the AJC. “If that’s all we had here, there would be no case. But once they started to compete with us for the six houses at the top of the road (and ) when they wanted $3 million for the road, that was simply too far.”
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