Amarillo Replaces Joplin's Master Developer
Is it time for Joplin to do the same?
Wallace Bajjali has been replaced as the contractor for Amarillo's downtown hotel complex according to this report. The Master Developer for Joplin and Amarillo appears to still hold responsibility for the parking garage development, according to Amarillo.com, however, the leash appears to have tightened with tight new completion requirements for the Master Developer who has yet to develop anything at all that resembles their impressive vision presentations to both the Amarillo and Joplin city councils and others before them. When speaking about the new hotel developer Newcrest Image, Amarillo Local Government Corp. Vice President Richard Brown said “The good news is that we’ve found a developer who has done this many times, someone who has done it in Amarillo, and who wants to do it again in Amarillo.” Of course, Wallace Bajjali does not have a record of success in Amarillo or Joplin. In fact, the recently purchased Coke building is sitting vacant while Wallace Bajjali looks for a tenant to rent the space to, according to KOAM. This is after months of delays and excuses from politician turned developer David G. Wallace regarding financing.
The troubled development firm was sued this summer for its role in breaking an agreement with investors to limit exposure to a project called Business Radio Network, which was later exposed as a Ponzi scheme. Wallace-Bajjali invested more than $10 million into the BizRadio Ponzi scheme, more than $4 million above what it had agreed to with its investors. Costa Bajjali and David Wallace have already been fined $120,000 from the SEC for their involvment in the matter. Joplin's relationship with Wallace Bajjali deserves reevaluation in light of the "lack of" progress on Joplin projects, questionable business history, and the recent actions by Amarillo in phasing the master developer out of the hotel construction contract.