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Judge Rejects Developer's Semantic Tricks; Franklin Point in Limbo

Remember when Bill Clinton told the grand jury, "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" during the Lewinsky trial? Irish developer Chieftain Group tried to pull a similar stunt in the legal battle over one of the best vacant parcels in the South Loop, and it was similarly ineffective. With plans to build a $150-million condo development on the 1.6-acre property, Chieftain struck a deal to buy the land from D2 Realty Services for $20 million in 2008, putting down $785,000 in earnest money. Then, when D2 sued to collect the money, Chieftain filed a countersuit, arguing that the land was no longer in the “same condition” as it had been when the contract was signed. What changed? The market tanked, of course, so they argued that the word "condition" wasn't limited to the physical condition of the land. The judge wasn't amused. “It would make no economic sense for a property seller like (the D2 affiliate) to assume contractual responsibility for vicissitudes in market conditions,” District Judge Matthew Kennelly wrote in his opinion. D2 is still holding the property, and there are no development plans on the horizon for the 6.5-acre adjacent property, either.

·Judgment clears way for D2 Realty to find South Loop site buyer [Crain's]