July 07--NAPLES -- Naples developer Jack Antaramian has upped the ante to $1 million.
That's how much he offers to pay in a newspaper advertisement seeking information that will lead him to missing financial records for the Naples Bay Resort project.
His reward started at $10,000 about a year ago, and has grown since.
He continues to regularly run ads in the Naples Daily News and online in his efforts to get "information leading to the recovery of accounting ledgers and books, including subcontractor bids" related to the construction of the nearly 20-acre resort project, near Tin City in downtown Naples.
Antaramian, a partner in the project, isn't saying whether the ads have been helpful in his search for the lost information, or whether he's paid out any reward money.
"That's pretty confidential," he said. "I can't discuss that."
While Antaramian advertises a $1 million reward, the ad also says the reward "will be based on information provided and at the total discretion of Antaramian Development."
In May 2011, Antaramian struck an agreement with the contractor, now going by the name Manhattan Construction, to review the books for the resort project after a bitter legal fight. After hiring Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP to do the financial audit, he learned of the missing documents.
The records he most wanted to see, he said, weren't transferred when the company relocated its offices in Naples. The contract with Manhattan required the company to keep the bid information from subcontractors for three years after the final payment, which didn't happen, Antaramian said.
Natalie Pagano, a marketing and communications manager for Manhattan, said the company has no comment.
Antaramian's family partnership sued Manhattan (then known as Kraft Construction Co.) in February 2010, alleging breach of contract, and sought the audit. The resort project came in over budget and took seven months longer than expected to complete.
Without seeing the bids from subcontractors, Antaramian argues it's not possible to do a true audit. He said he wants to understand where all the money went that was advanced by the bank, which ended up foreclosing on its loan.
Antaramian later bought the remaining note at a steep discount, taking the place of the bank in its foreclosure action and suing his partners for payment.
His lawsuit against Manhattan is still pending, after nearly being dismissed for inactivity while Antaramian dealt with other legal battles involving his other partners in the project, which include a former owner of Kraft.
"We have reactivated the lawsuit, and we are going to be filing documents soon to take our positions," Antaramian said.
The case, he said, could help him get the information he seeks through deposing Manhattan executives and owners.
"That is the only remedy we can think of right now," Antaramian said.