Judge rules against Chinese investors in suit over Vail condo development

7.22D Vail

The Solaris condo project in Vail has been the focus of a lawsuit by Chinese investors. (BusinessDen file)

A federal district court judge in Denver has terminated a lawsuit filed by dozens of Chinese nationals who invested in a high-profile condo project in Vail, although the fight isn’t over yet.

Judge Raymond Moore entered the ruling in the case involving The Vail Solaris Residences building in mid-June.

Moore dismissed without prejudice some claims, and ruled in favor of the defendants in others, writing that the claims that remained in the case pertained to state law, not federal.

The plaintiffs, who received green cards after investing in the project as part of the federal government’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, have appealed Moore’s ruling.

There are more than 30 individual plaintiffs in the case, stemming from two separate lawsuits filed in 2019 that were subsequently combined.

The plaintiffs are among 160 foreigners who each invested $500,000 in 2011 and 2012 in Colorado Regional Center Project Solaris LLLP, which then loaned the cumulative $80 million to an entity controlled by Solaris developer Peter Knobel to help build and market The Vail Solaris Residences.

Knobel and Colorado Regional Center, which helps facilitate EB-5 investments, were both named as defendants.

The initial lawsuits stated that Knobel effectively repaid the $80 million loan by giving the investors 19 condos within the structure. The lawsuits alleged the condos are not worth $80 million, and that the loan was significantly undercollateralized.

Chicago-area attorney Doug Litowitz represented some of the plaintiffs, with Arden Law of Newport Beach, California, representing others.

If the ruling holds, it will mean the Colorado court “holds theories no other court holds,” Litowitz said.

Litowitz said he wasn’t just disappointed with the ruling, noting he had sent a statement to the court when 11 of his clients arrived for a June hearing, only to be told by Moore that only five would be allowed in. There was no publicly available rule about the client limit, Litowitz wrote.

James Kilroy of the Denver office of Snell & Wilmer represented the Colorado Regional Center. Harold Hadden and Ty Gee of Haddon, Morgan and Foreman represented Knobel and Solaris-related entities. Kilroy and Hadden did not respond to separate requests for comment.

7.22D Vail

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