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By John DaleySALT LAKE CITY -- KSL 5 News uncovered serious questions Thursday about the development group looking to build a big new project next to a FrontRunner stop in Draper.
A man named Mark Robbins signed that agreement, representing the developer Whitewater VII. Now, for reasons that aren't clear, he's apparently no longer part of the deal. Court records show he owes creditors more than $2 million on another deal, and he's on the run.
From the start, it's been a mysterious project involving well-connected people, including a developer with a stake in the project who is also on UTA's board and a lawyer and UTA lobbyist who was Speaker of the House when key land decisions were made. Even the developer's name, Whitewater VII, stood out.
All along, as we looked into it, we were told the main man behind the plan was Park City businessman Mark Robbins.
"Whitewater is the developer. Mark Robbins is the owner," Bruce Jones, general counsel for UTA, told us in November 2008.
In December 2008, Draper City Manger Layne Long said, "[I] don't know a whole lot about their development team. Mark Robbins is one of their principals."
We looked into who Robbins is and were surprised by what we found: A jet-setting lifestyle, stories about trips to on private planes to exotic resorts and Nevada casinos, and a less-than glowing business resume. He was sued in a deal-gone-bad. He promised to pay but didn't.
Now, according to court records, there is a $2 million judgment against Robbins. A creditor is seeking assets from 35 corporations linked to him, including that potential Draper developer Whitewater VII.
Since September, Robbins has never showed up for court hearings in the case, and a judge put out a warrant for his arrest. Apparently, he's on the run.
UTA says, until now, they were unaware of Robbins' financial woes. "I know nothing about that. You're announcing that to me for the first time," Bruce Jones said.
We've been unable to reach Robbins. His attorney, Jeff Jones, says "Mark is not in the state today."
Where he is? His attorney, who declined to speak on camera, says: "That's not something I can tell you ... I don't think he would do an interview."
To cap it all off, we checked the multimillion-dollar, transit-oriented development deal with Draper City and UTA. Signing for Whitewater VII in November, two months after a judge first put out a warrant for his arrest, was Mark Robbins. But we're told now is no longer part of the project.
"It's been a number of months since he had any interest in Whitewater," his attorney said.
We're told the main developer with Whitewater now is Bodell Construction. All of the parties in this project say that Robbins' financial troubles have had no impact on the development.
UTA is expected to announce where the FrontRunner station will be located in the next two weeks.
-- Mark Robbins sent us a statement after this story aired. To read it, CLICK HERE.--