By Shereen Siewert

A judgment for $559,335 filed in Iowa against a development partner in the Wausau Riverlife Village project has been transferred to Wisconsin, according to court documents.

The decision, recorded March 20 in Iowa and transferred June 7 to Walworth County, Wis., names Michael D. Frantz and Frantz Ventures, LLC, as defendants. Spring Haven, LLC, an organization in Iowa, is listed as the creditor attempting to collect the debt, which has not yet been satisfied. Under the state’s Uniform Enforcement Of Foreign Judgments Act, a judgment from another state is generally enforceable in Wisconsin.

The filing is the latest in a series of financial struggles for the partner in Riverlife Village, even as city officials are actively seeking new partners for the highly anticipated development along the city’s east riverfront.

Days after the Iowa judgment was filed, Frantz formally introduced a new co-developer and financing partner, Rainy Investments, LLC, and publicly told council members financing was nearly finalized for the project.

But the financial stack never materialized and construction stalled when contractors began demanding payment for unpaid bills associated with the project. Four construction liens totaling more than $2.7 million were filed in May in Marathon County Circuit Court surrounding the Riverlife Village project, with additional liens possible in the coming days.

Frantz’s relationship with Spring Haven, LLC, is unclear and is not listed in online court documents.

In a separate case filed Feb. 3 in Brown County Circuit Court, a Florida company claims Frantz owes the company more than $153,000 after a check paying for design services at Green Bay’s Hotel Northland bounced in January, according to court documents. That case is still pending.

Frantz is one of two parties named in Marathon County court documents related to the Riverlife Village project. Also named is Barker Financial, LLC, which despite a series of adjustments in city agreements remains the developer of record for the project.

The new RPF, released May 25, is seeking developers interested in taking over the current Phase 1 project or proposals for developing other areas of the land. Under the terms of the current developer agreement, the city maintains ownership of the architectural renderings created by Mudrovich & Associates and would retain ownership of the land itself.

Proposals are due Aug. 3, with an initial review by a selection committee slated for Aug. 7.

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21 replies on “Court docs: Riverlife investor owes $559K in Iowa civil case”

  1. Millions in “construction liens” for empty lots? Does anyone even know what is going on?
    The simpleton “leadership” pleasing the downtown clique at any cost.

    1. Ron, it is beyond the English language to describe how stupid and baazar this project has been since day one. Even more baazar, is that the same people are in the same position, posturing tomake more stupid mistakes. Complete lunacy…squared!

    2. The lots aren’t empty. There has already been significant work on foundation construction. Foundations aren’t cheap!

      1. I don’t know that anyone said the lots are empty. Construction is halted, however.

      2. I am the one that said they are “empty”. Now lets think for a second. If “significant work on foundation construction” are done, all future NEW and potential developers/Investors are stuck with one project. Or let’s pay another million to remove the 3 million job done?

      3. I stand corrected! Thanks, Ron. And that’s a very good point.

  2. For most people who have been following this issue, the fact that Mike Frantz emerges with no money was not a surprise. The warning signs were all there.

    Next, issuing a request for proposals (RFP) in the midst of litigation makes no sense.

    Now, it is time to make some new projections about how that will turn out. The new RFP will get a meager response at best. I would not be surprised if no one responds.

    Furthermore, to the extent that there are RFP respondents, they will want large subsidies from the city to offset the uncertainty and risks associated with this project.

    Add the fact that the city is again handicapping the offer by insisting on owning the underlying land, it is hard to see any prospect for this strategy to succeed.

  3. Unbelievably, ED Director and Tom Neal told me at the last Economic Development Committee meeting that Frantz is still in compliance as long as he cures his liens. So what do we do if he comes along on August 2 with $2.7 million and a promise of a new investor stack? According to Mr. Neal, Frantz is still in the game…. how do they legally fire him then after the precedent the city set?

    1. Well, if he comes up with the money, then we move forward, if not, then we move forward…

    2. Could somebody provide the signed paperwork that shows that Mike Frantz, operating under whatever name he is going by “Today” is the developer? We the citizens of Wausau need proof considering we are being held hostage by this guy! Perhaps Mr. Neal, the chair of ED, has that information and can provide it to WP&R!

  4. Would this information have been able to be found by either Chris Shock or the ED committee prior to this news story? If so, why was it not? If not, why was it not available?

    What will come of this?

    1. Dino, the information was available but the city would have had to be actively looking for it. I think the issue here is really about how to move forward. The judgment was handed down eight days before Mr. Frantz stood in front of the committee and assured them that financing was nearly in place. The fact that he stood before the council knowing he had this kind of judgment hanging above his head raises enormous issues about trust. Now, if Mr. Frantz is out of the picture completely at this point, fine. But if the city is still considering continuing a partnership with him, this fact should be a matter of strong importance. Pat Peckham, in a Facebook post, wrote this: “I do not spend my time mining for more reasons to doubt a developer who failed to meet his financial obligations and is no longer a player here.” But that conflicts with what we have been told so far.

      1. Pat Peckham should spend more time doing his freaking job than posting on FB. Maybe then he could’ve found about 559,000 reasons to “doubt a developer”.

      2. Since Pat Peckham says Mike Frantz is “no longer a player here”, can we be assured that City Staff and Economic Development is no longer meeting with Frantz? We have learned from WP&R that he signed off as developer to Barker Financial in December of 2016 so why have we continued to meet with him for a year and a half?

  5. It might be cool to open records Chris Shock and Mayor Mielke and Tom Neals calendars, and see when they met with the Frantz braintrust last.

    Oh wait, that would run us into more open records requests the City of Wausau is choosing to ignore.

    1. I think you’re starting to get it, Dino. 😉
      You’ll see a colossal herd of pigs flying overhead before the bug sprayer and his merry band of taxpayer spending fools honor an ORR or actually face serious questions from WP&R. Peckham is too busy making FB posts insulting people. Neal is simply AWOL and Schock (however his name is spelled) will forever claim ignorance. SOS, different day.

  6. Simple direct question….has the City of Wausau terminated all fiscal and business relationship with Frantz officially and legally?

    1. The puppets at the city of Wausau are so desperate to please their Downtown Clique, that they will even deal with Charles Ponzi if he came back from the grave.

    2. Dino, that’s a good question. I just sent an email to the city asking, and will share the answer when I have it.

  7. Tom Neal
    Pat Peckham
    Lisa Rasmussen
    Gary Gisselman
    Mike Martens

    Members of the Economic Development Committee.

    The minutes and packets appear out of order on the website

    http://www.ci.wausau.wi.us/Departments/CityCouncil/MinutesAgendas/Archive/tabid/468/FolderID/1000/Default.aspx

    From the June 5 packet, “Riverlife
    – Foundations are complete and once the financing is confirmed they will start on the next phase which is
    the walls. Continued updates are coming in and they are currently re
    -engineering the plans to add the extra
    commercial space.”

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