The manager overseeing the $300 million redevelopment of the Plantation Fashion Mall has filed a countersuit against the Chinese owners who accused him of misappropriating funds.
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Wei Chen, manager and minority owner of the project, filed suit Friday in Broward Circuit Court against Tangshan Ganglu Iron & Steel Co. Ltd. and company chairman Zeng Zhen Du. The suit alleges Du diverted millions of dollars intended for the project and lost it trading in the Australian stock market.
As a result, the complaint said the company established to oversee the Plantation project, US Capital Holdings Group, faced foreclosure and was forced to file for bankruptcy. The lawsuit said Chen was sued personally and worked without pay.
Eventually, Chen and Du found foreign investors to make up the losses. However, $200 million in additional funding is needed to complete the project, which includes retail, office and residential.
In April, Chen alleges Du traveled to Plantation to oust Chen from the project and appoint his “inexperienced son” as manager.
The lawsuit seeks damages and a declaratory judgment supporting Chen’s position as manager.
In May, Ganglu sued Chen in Fort Lauderdale federal court, accusing him of misappropriating nearly $50 million intended for construction and buying the last parcel of land for the project in his own name. That suit was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and has been refiled in Broward Circuit Court.
Chen is represented by Benjamin Olive of Hackleman, Olive & Judd of Fort Lauderdale.
Tangshan Ganglu is represented by Lida Rodriguez-Taseff of Duane Morris in Miami.