Broker claims city owes $1.5 million for Point Molate
on January 18, 2010
Commercial real estate broker John Troughton claims the City of Richmond agreed to pay him $1.5 million if the Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians came to Point Molate. But Troughton admits no deal was signed, and no one at City Hall has acknowledged the agreement.
What Troughton, a Cushman & Wakefield senior director, does have is a letter that shows he met with four council members and city officials about Point Molate in November 2002. Council members Nat Bates and Jim Rogers attended the meeting along with former council members Richard Griffin and Mindell Penn, according to the city’s letter, which Troughton showed Richmond Confidential.
When reached by phone, Rogers wouldn’t comment on the meeting and alleged agreement. He said he’s been advised by the city attorney not to discuss it.
“It’s a matter that is potentially involving litigation,” he said.
Troughton claims that during this meeting, which four of the then-nine council members attended, the city agreed to pay a $1.5 million finder’s fee if he could convince the Guidiville Band to open a casino at Point Molate.
Administrative Chief Janet Schneider said she didn’t know anything about the deal, but she also said she didn’t start working for the city until several years after the meeting.
“I’m not aware of any involvement with Cushman & Wakefield,” she said. “There’s certainly no documents to that effect that I’m aware of.”
Troughton has worked on many Indian casino projects in the Bay area, and he said that he was already engaged with the Guidiville Band in their search for land to develop.
After taking the city’s offer, Troughton said he attended tribal meetings to promote Point Molate. He said he was also the first person to take the tribe to see the land.
“My only mistake was trusting [the City of Richmond],” said Troughton. “In my mind they owe my company the money.”
But council member Tom Butt said that Troughton has no claim to the money without a written contract.
“It’s a figment of his imagination,” said Butt. “If there’s no contract, there’s no fee. … If they think the city owes them money for this, I think they’re dreaming.”
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