Investors in Vail’s Solaris project want funds returned |

Investors in Vail’s Solaris project want funds returned

Investors seek return of $82.5 million invested in the project

Investors who collectively put $82.5 million into the Solaris project have gone to court seeking the return of those funds.
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A lawsuit seeking the return of investors’ $82.5 million in contributions to the Solaris project is facing an Aug. 3 milestone.

The suit filed by a number of Chinese nationals was first filed in 2019 in Federal court against Solaris, developer Peter Knobel and an entity called the Colorado Regional Center.

What’s alleged?

A group of Chinese investors is suing Solaris developer Peter Knobel and the Colorado Regional Center for the return of $82.5 million in loans provided for construction of the project.

Solaris has until Aug. 3 to file a response to the latest court ruling.

That case was dismissed in 2019 for lack of federal standing in the case., and the plaintiffs in 2021 went to district court in Denver.

Chicago-based attorney Doug Litowitz represented the plaintiffs in federal court, but isn’t licensed in Colorado. He’s now overseeing the case, which is being pursued by a Denver-area law firm.

The plaintiffs are among a group of Chinese investors who in 2011 and 2012 each contributed $500,000 to the project as part of the federal government’s Immigrant Investor Program. The program grants permanent resident status to investors who contribute to projects that create or preserve 10 permanent jobs.

The investors provided that money to Colorado Regional Center, a company accredited by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The funds were then transferred from the Colorado Regional Center to Solaris.

Litowitz said the issue is simple: The investors want their money back and haven’t gotten it.

At this point, there have been a handful of legal filings in Denver district court. The latest ruling by District Court Judge Darryl F. Shockley was filed July 18.

That ruling addresses a motion to dismiss the case filed by the defendants, Solaris Property Owner I, LLC and Peter Knobel.  

Shockley’s ruling states that the defendants used “evidence outside the complaint” in their motion to dismiss. The ruling notes that a court may consider only the facts alleged in the case’s pleadings and documents.

The ruling then converts the motion to dismiss to a motion for “summary judgment.”

According to the website of Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, if a court grants such a motion a decision in a case is made without holding a trial.

Litowitz said Knobel and other defendants have until Aug. 3 to answer the complaint. If that answer isn’t made, the case then goes to the summary judgment stage.

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