A Maryland developer has filed a $5.25 million lawsuit against two New York companies, charging that they sold him water and sewer tap rights in Fairfax County that they didn't own.
The developer, William H. Plank, 1005 Frederick Ave., Kensington, charged in the suit filed in Federal Court in Alexandria that he had contracted with ITR Properties Inc., and its parent firm, Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., to buy undeveloped land in Fairfax County. The size of the property was not stated in the suit.
Plank said that the contract called for him to eventually buy as many as 290 water and sewer taps from ITR for $800 each. The taps are needed for development of the land.
However, at a settlement meeting Nov. 30, attorneys for ITR "admitted that ITR did not own (and had not owned at the time of contracting) any water taps whatsoever," the suit alleged.
The attorneys, from the firm of Boothe, Prichard & Dudley, refused to refund a total of $100,000 Plank had paid as a deposit, according to court papers.
A spokesman for the law firm -- which is not a defendent in the suit -- could not be reached for comment.
The suit seeks the return of the $100,000, as well as $150,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punative damages for the alleged fraud and breach of contract.
An attorney for ITR did not return a call to his office.
Plank has been an active homebuilder in Fairfax County in recent years. He also could not be reached for comment.