Zack Davidson, the controversial and once high-flying developer whose Landmark luxury condominium project in Greenwood Village ended up in bankruptcy, has been indicted on 20 felony counts of theft, forgery and embezzlement.
A warrant also has been issued for Davidson’s arrest.
Davidson, 45, was indicted by an Arapahoe Country grand jury on Dec. 27.
The allegations are that he improperly took about $3.1 million in public money from the Marin Metropolitan District in Greenwood Village , which had been created to fund public improvements for a project he planned across from the Landmark known as the European Village.
Instead, he used the money for personal use and for business expenses not related to the European Village, according to the 28-page indictment.
The European Village would have had 161 manor homes and 60 brownstones across from the Landmark towers west of Interstate 25 near Belleview Avenue.
Although ground was never broken on the European Village, the district issued $31 million in bonds, which were to be backed by property taxes to be paid by residents of the European Village as well as in the two condo towers — Landmark and Meridian.
The two condo towers and the retail portion of the development, the Village Shops at the Landmark, ended up in bankruptcy during the real estate crash in 2009.
In February 2010, Davidson, who had guaranteed construction loans on the project, filed personal Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing $164.6 million in liabilities and $141.3 million in assets.
The indictment charges Davidson with:
- Seven counts of theft of $20,000 or more, each a Class 3 felony.
- Seven counts of forgery, each a Class 5 felony.
- Six counts of embezzlement of public property, each a Class 5 felony.
His bond has been set at $50,000. The alleged offenses took place between April 2008 and April 2010.
Davidson’s specific whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be in North or South Carolina, according to Casimir Spencer, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s office.
“A warrant has (been) issued for his arrest and if he is arrested in another state, we will seek to extradite him to Colorado to stand trial,” according to Spencer.
InsideRealEstateNews.com left a message for Davidson on a cell phone with a Los Angeles-area phone number, on which Davidson had recorded his name.
He has not returned the call and it is unclear whether that is still his phone number. For at least part of 2012, Davidson was a top executive at the privately held EarthKeeper Alliance, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., which among other things planned to develop a 994-acre spread near Telluride called Hideout Mountain.
However, when Davidson emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, one of the terms of the settlement was that he “shall not again engage in the business of real estate development within the state of Colorado.”
Adam C. Hall, the chairman and founder of EarthKeeper Alliance, in a letter obtained by InsideRealEstateNews, wrote that “Mr. Davidson’s role with EKA has been and will be related to EKA’s projects outside of Colorado. Mr. Davidson has not and will not be involved in the prospective development activities of the Hideout Mountain property. There are many other projects and endeavors outside the state of Colorado that we are pursuing that require his time and attention.”
Davidson is no longer with EarthKeeper.EarthKeeper has not returned several calls to InsideRealEstateNews about Davidson.
Davidson stormed into Denver in 2005, promising to bring never-seen-before European-style luxury living to the metro area.
He threw Gatsby-like parties for the well-heeled to promote the Landmark, boasting to the Denver Post in 2007 the soirees had set him back $1.7 million.
“I always want to jump in the deep end,” Davidson told the Post.
In 2008, an undercover investigation by John Ferrugia of Channel 7 found that top-of-the-line GE Monogram “badges” were being placed over logos on lower-priced GE Profile microwaves, giving consumers the impression they were receiving more expensive appliances and giving Davidson and the Landmark a black eye.
However, that didn’t stop Davidson from putting out a press release in January 2009, in which he quoted himself saying: “The Landmark represents our vision of the ultimate luxury living experience in Colorado: superior service and amenities and intelligently designed residences. It’s really about luxury with a conscience.”
In a summary of the indictment filed with the Arapahoe County District Court, Davidson is described as being five-feet, 10-inches tall, weighing 190 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
It goes on to say that he wears glasses and is possibly bipolar.
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Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.