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Joplin To Pursue Additional Suits Against Wallace And Bajjali – If It Can Find Them

The Missouri city won a $1.5 million default judgment against Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, formerly based in Sugar Land, last week.

 

David WallaceDavid Wallace. Photo from the Wallace Bajjali Website

City officials in Joplin, Missouri say they still aim to sue Houston-area developers David Wallace and Costa Bajjali. It’s accusing the men of fraud and breach of contract, relating to their work overseeing reconstruction efforts in the tornado-stricken city. But Joplin faces several hurdles in bringing the cases to trial.

It’s been more than six weeks since Joplin filed suit against Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, along with the former principals of the firm. It’s been met with silence by all three. While a Missouri court has issued a default judgment against the company of nearly $1.5 million for failing to respond, getting a ruling against the two men isn’t that simple.

To read more background, here’s an in-depth look on The Rise and Fall of Wallace Bajjali:

“Costa Bajjali and David Wallace, service has not been effectuated on those individuals at this time,” says Peter Edwards, Joplin’s city attorney. As long as the men haven’t been served with notice of the suit, the trial can’t move forward.

In Wallace’s case, there’s an additional barrier. The former mayor of Sugar Land filed for bankruptcy protection in a Houston court, shortly before Joplin filed its own case. “Mr. Wallace’s bankruptcy puts a stay on the city moving forward with the suit against him individually,” Edwards says.

Costa Bajjali
Costa Bajjali. Photo from the Wallace Bajjali Website

The partners both resigned from their development firm in January – shutting down their offices in Sugar Land and Joplin without warning.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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