Once again, the University Estates development in northwest Athens is the subject of litigation, with a bonding company called Developers Surety & Indemnity filing a complaint against UE and its former developer Dr. Richard Conard, along with secretary Elizabeth Conard.

During Conard’s time developing University Estates, the allotment off Ohio Rt. 682 and Armitage Road was the subject of multiple lawsuits either filed by Conard or against him.

In 2009, Conard, who lives in Palmetto, Florida, filed suit against the city of Athens after officials signed a memorandum of understanding with another developer that had agreed to purchase a mortgage note on more than 600 acres of UE’s mixed-use development site. Eventually, that lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice in U.S. District Court.

In 2010, Citizens Bank of Logan acquired the property after the bank said a default had occurred. In early 2014, H2 Development LLC, which is co-owned by local businessman Brent Hayes, purchased 566 acres of land that had not been platted for homes from Citizens Independent Bankcorp Inc. for slightly over $1.1 million.

On Jan. 6, Developers Surety & Indemnity Co., of Irvine, California, filed its lawsuit against the Conards in Athens County Common Pleas Court, seeking $55,943. This amount, according to the lawsuit, was paid to the city of Athens as settlement of a claim the city made on the bond. The city did this in an effort to complete streets within the development.

That work was completed in 2013 after a struggle with road issues since the land was annexed into the city in 2000. Athens had refused to accept the UE roads into the city until all of the roadways were completed to meet city standards. Eventually, an agreement was struck to assess UE property owners to pay for the road-improvement project, which cost $715,700.

In addition to the $55,943 bond settlement, Developers Surety claims in the lawsuit that they have incurred “costs, expenses and attorneys fees” in the past and will continue to do so, requesting the court to award both the settlement and the other costs, as well as any other relief deemed just and appropriate.

As of Friday, Conard had not filed an answer to the complaint.

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