By Selwyn Harris
The man paid to direct a feasibility study for a tourist destination in Pahrump is now facing legal action in Ohio.
On April 24, Don Holbrook was named as a defendant in a complaint filed in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas of Dayton, Ohio.
In March, the Huber Heights City Council, during executive session, discussed taking legal action against Don Holbrook of the Vercitas Group and Contour Entertainment.
The discussion was in reference to the city paying tens of thousands of dollars for Holbrook’s work.
Minutes from that meeting suggested that Holbrook’s work product was not at all what was expected by the council and did not conform to the contract requirements that Holbrook was required to fulfill as part of the contract.
Holbrook chose not to comment on the matter, but his attorney, Sue Seeberger, provided a statement in reference to her client’s court summons.
“This matter with the City of Huber Heights, Ohio; and Don Allen Holbrook is now in litigation. Needless to say, we dispute each and every one of their claims. Don Allen Holbrook, LLC completed its contract with the City of Huber Heights and did not breach its agreement in any way.
The City’s claims for conversion, fraudulent inducement, and negligent misrepresentation lack any basis in fact and are not grounded under Ohio law. The City’s claim for unjust enrichment is another way to sue for breach of contract and is likewise baseless,” the statement read.
Last summer, Pahrump town officials voted to spend more than $150,000 for the first phase of a proposed tourist destination in the community.
That decision didn’t sit well with many local residents as witnessed at subsequent town board meetings.
If town officials decide to move forward with future phases of the project, costs are expected to rise to more than $900,000 before the dirt is even disturbed.
Holbrook’s work product it seems has left a sour note beyond Huber Heights and Pahrump.
In February, a newspaper article from The Tribune in New Caney, Tx., painted Holbrook as a man who trumped up his resume and did not deliver what officials were expecting.
A project called EarthQuest was presented as a several hundred-acre dinosaur themed park attraction in the small town roughly 40 minutes from downtown Houston.
The article reported that in 2007, Holbrook’s company was paid $25,000 to prepare a site selection report for the project.
The article also stated that Holbrook’s report showed that New Caney would be a choice location for the EarthQuest project over many other towns and communities across the country.
The report cited potential strengths and weaknesses within the community but made no recommendations on whether or not EarthQuest should break ground there at all.
The EarthQuest Institute, a museum type facility, was scheduled to open last year, while the theme park was set to open in 2012.
To date, both projects are still in limbo.
Holbrook has expressed that he never had a failed project and never had a disgruntled client. He went on to claim that after 10-plus years of never having a failed project or disgruntled client means that he’s doing something right.
Meanwhile, Huber Heights Clerk of Council Tony Rodgers has not returned requests for comment on legal action against Holbrook in reference to the project.
Holbrook was introduced to Pahrump town officials by former Pahrump Community Economic Development Manager Al Balloqui.
The Pahrump project involving Holbrook will appear again before the town board on May 22.