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Arnold M. Knightly

Olympia Group sues home builder D.R. Horton

30 May 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The development group led by locally based Olympia Group has filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the nation's largest home builder for a breach of contract.

November 2005 Land Investors filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Clark County District Court against DRHI, a subsidiary of Fort Worth, Texas-based D.R. Horton. The lawsuit claims the builder is in default of an infrastructure agreement and owes $4.1 million plus interest for unpaid costs related to the 2,675-acre Park Highlands master-planned community in North Las Vegas.

Mark Ferrario, Las Vegas-based attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the home builder has been notified of the debt on many occasions. The lawsuit claims DRHI's actions have jeopardized the parcel's development and may cause a loss of funding for part of Park Highlands.

However, DRHI failed to respond, forcing the development group's action.

"D.R. Horton is still part of the project," Ferrario said. "We expect them to honor their commitments."

Requests for comment made to D.R. Horton's corporate offices in Fort Worth were not returned by late Thursday.

D.R. Horton, which has shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker: DHI), has divisions in 27 states operating in 83 cities. The company's home-building division generated $11.1 billion in revenue in fiscal 2007. The builder is selling and building homes in 45 communities in Clark County, according to the company's Web site.

November 2005 Land Investors is a partnership between Olympia and affiliates of home builders American West, Astoria Homes, Standard Pacific Homes and project manager Summerset Development Service.

The group sued after DRHI missed three payments of slightly more than $1 million due at the end of January, February and March, court documents say. A payment for April is also due, the 11-page filing claims.

The lawsuit also claims DRHI hasn't filed additional documents related to the agreement now in default.

Olympia principal Guy Inzalaco said Thursday construction at Park Highlands is continuing with installation of all underground utilities on the first 600-acre parcel. Completion is expected at the end of 2009.

"We are also scheduled to open Park Highland's first elementary school, first public park, and builder models toward the end of 2009," Inzalaco said in a statement.

Construction on Park Highlands broke ground in January 2007. Olympia acquired the land in late 2005 after bidding $639 million at a Bureau of Land Management auction.