Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Doctors continue argument over abandoned lease

October 18, 2007

A Lansing doctor sued by his former partners for breach of contract has answered the lawsuit and, in turn, filed a countersuit.

Dr. Peter Cristiano, who was sued by Drs. Richard E. Whitlow, Kathleen McBratney, Frank Flanner and Michael Lexow for failing to occupy the 11,373 square feet of space at the new Eisenhower Medical Plaza I, 1004 Progress Drive, has responded to the lawsuit with his own counterclaims and a third-party petition.

A representative in Cristiano's office said Tuesday that the doctor did not wish to comment for this story. However, in an answer to the lawsuit filed Sept. 14 in Leavenworth County District Court, Cristiano denied all allegations against him and asked the judge to dismiss the case.

Cristiano also countersued the Eisenhower Development group but specifically cites allegations against Whitlow and two additional developers of the plaza, Daniel Carr and Richard Baier, both of Kansas City, Mo.

Whitlow said he expected a countersuit to be filed. At this point, he said, there are a lot of unanswered questions from both sides and the process from here forward will be a lot of back and forth searching for answers. Whitlow declined to comment further about Cristiano's allegations.

"His claims are his claims, and I'm not going to comment on his claims until the time comes when I need to," Whitlow said Tuesday.

In his lawsuit, Cristiano said the plaintiffs "engaged in various side agreements with developers that were not disclosed" to him. Cristiano claimed he was solicited for membership with the Leavenworth/Lansing Physicians Building through "false representations concerning the costs associated with the project and the developer fees to be paid out on the project."

Cristiano's lawsuit said Whitlow, Carr and Baier had an obligation to communicate and fully advise him on the details of the development property. Had he been given the "intentionally" omitted information about the costs he would incur, Cristiano said he would not have participated as an investor in the property.

Cristiano's lawsuit then goes on to accuse Whitlow of "tortuous interference of a prospective business relationship." Cristiano recounts his request to move his office in the Eisenhower Development to the first floor, which he said was agreed upon by the other owners of the building as long as he subleased a certain portion of space to a specialist.

While identifying interested specialists, Cristiano claims that Whitlow discouraged them from subleasing and rather attempted to solicit the specialists to lease directly from the building.

Cristiano asks to be compensated for the loss of his investment and emotional distress with no less than $100,000 on five of his claims. On two additional counts, he asks for no less than $25,000. He also asked the court to order a jury trial.

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