Homes by Deesign sues seller over utility rebates

Kelly Holleran Sep. 15, 2011, 5:00am


A St. Clair County company claims it was cheated out of substantial amounts of money by the Missouri company that sold it property.

Homes by Deesign filed a lawsuit Sept. 8 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Friedla Development Group, Paul Friedla and David Karr.

In its complaint, Homes by Deesign alleges it bought property in St. Clair County from Friedla Development Group for $1,518,590.63. Under the sales agreement, Friedla agreed to assign future utility company rebates to Homes by Deesign, according to the complaint.

However, Paul Friedla, who was manager of Friedla Development Group, issued a second assignment of utility company rebate to Karr. Karr served as an investor in Friedla, the suit states. As a result, Karr has received $100,000 in rebate payments that should have gone to Homes by Deesign, the complaint says.

"The attempted second assignment of the same future utility company rebates to Mr. Karr places Friedla Development in breach of the Contract, and was made as a part of a scheme to defraud Plaintiff," the complaint says.

Although Homes by Deesign has demanded that Friedla return all the right to utility company rebates to it, Friedla has refused to do so, the plaintiff alleges.

Ameren, the utility, holds other rebate payments that it refuses to issue to Friedla because of Karr's assignment, according to the complaint.

Homes by Deesign alleges breach of contract, fraud, civil conspiracy and conversion against the defendants, the suit states.

In its complaint, Homes by Deesign seeks a judgment of more than $250,000 and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just. In addition, it seeks a declaratory judgment declaring that Homes by Deesign be issued all utility company rebates it is owed and a judgment declaring that any transfer to Karr is invalid.

William J. Niehoff and Laura E. Craft of Mathis, Marifian and Richter in Belleville will be representing it.

St. Clair County case number 11-L-505

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