Minority contractor Al Bowers is withdrawing his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the city and former Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.
It's been more than two years since Bowers filed a $205 million lawsuit alleging that Wilder and his administration conspired to remove Bowers from the $110 million Miller & Rhoads hotel and condo project downtown.
Now Bowers' lawyers are taking a different approach.
“Refiling the suit is as inevitable as day and night,” says Brent Jackson, Bowers' lead lawyer, who is reviewing the case and will implement “a new strategy” soon. “We don't want anyone to presume that it is finished.”
This summer, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Melvin R. Hughes Jr. dismissed both the conspiracy and defamation of character claims, charges that Bowers had made in the lawsuit. The statute on the defamation charges had expired, the judge ruled, and Bowers' businesses “were not then doing any work for which they could seek compensation” when the hotel developers removed Bowers and his companies from the project in 2006.
At the heart of the lawsuit is Bowers' charge that Wilder and his staff contacted various developers in the Richmond region, including those working on Miller & Rhoads, and warned them not to do business with Bowers and his companies, BFE Consulting and BFE Construction.
Bowers' lawyers amended their claims in September, downgrading the damages sought to $75 million. Hearings scheduled for Nov. 23 on the amended claims were canceled, but the lawsuit had not been officially withdrawn as of Monday morning.