Developers accuse city of breaching Virginia Beach arena deal

Photo courtesy Rubin Communications Group

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Here’s part of the problem for Virginia Beach City Council members dealing with the Virginia Beach Arena, they want more money from the developers in the bank.

That total is about $70 million, but right now members say only about half of that number is in the bank.

The Virginia Beach Arena developer’s attorney emailed the Virginia Beach City Attorney a letter that doesn’t mince words, after the City Council terminated the agreement to build an arena.

“This action constitutes a breach of the Development Agreement,” wrote attorney Sam Meekins. To that, Mayor Will Sessoms replied, “They feel they have closed on the loan, and the city came back and said we don’t believe you have closed on the loan, and that being the case led to that letter.”

Meekins continues: “Lenders have closed the construction loan in accordance with the Development Agreement, pursuant to the executed Credit Agreement… The City has chosen to ignore its contractual obligations.”

We asked Sessoms about that. “My responsibility is number one to the taxpayers of Virginia Beach, and at this point the city is making the right decision to terminate the agreement,” he said.

Someone close to the Mid-Atlantic Arena side told 10 On Your Side, “Both sides are working diligently to resolve the outstanding issues promptly and in short order.”

When read that statement, Sessoms said: “I would very much welcome them bringing back us the original agreement fully executed. I would be happy to go back to council and try to make the arena happen.”

A statement from Meekins doesn’t mention a lawsuit, but certainly implies it. “If the City does not honor its obligations, Mid-Atlantic Arena will protect its interests and will exercise  all of its rights and remedies relating to the City’s breach of the Development Agreement.”

Sessoms responded, “I certainly  hope that in a very short time period perhaps they could come forward with satisfaction to the city that the loan actually has closed.”

The Meekins letter is a reminder to the council that breaking up is hard to do, and is almost always harder than trying to get together.