Developers of the once-proposed May Town Center in West Nashville are gearing up for a battle in court.
Jeffrey Zeitlin, who claims to have come up with the idea of developing the Bells Bend property, filed a lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court on Thursday against Jack May, Frank May and others involved in the May Town Center project.
Zeitlin claims that actions taken by Jack May have cost him tens of millions of dollars and in turn is suing for unspecified compensatory damages as well as asking that punitive action should be taken against May and the other defendants to “make a public example of them.”
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of nine separate claims, including breach of partnership agreement, breach of contract and fraud.
According to Zeitlin, when he and William Kantz entered into a partnership agreement with the Mays, they were led to believe that Jack May was retired in Mexico and “would help fund the project.”
Zeitlin contends, however, several misrepresentations by the Mays ultimately led to the crumbling of the partnership and the development plan.
According to the lawsuit, the Mays made an “unconditional promise” to gift certain land in Bells Bend to Tennessee State University — land that the partnership didn’t own.
“The Defendants did not make the gift as promised to TSU and did not intend to make the gift when the Defendants extended the promise,” the lawsuit reads. “As a result, the Partnership’s good will and Zeitlin’s interest therein was damaged.”
Zeitlin makes a similar claim involving a bridge that Jack May told the city of Nashville he would “write a check” for, to help boost the proposed development.
The lawsuit also claims that the Mays added partners in breach of the partnership agreement and failed to account for Zeitlin’s capital contributions to the partnership.
The Metro Nashville Planning Commission rejected the May Town Center’s rezoning request in 2009. The bill was withdrawn before it reached the Metro Council.
Attorneys Thomas K. Potter III and John Paul Nefflen, of Burr & Forman LLP, are representing Zeitlin in the matter.
Jack May could not immediately be reached for comment, and it is unclear if he is represented by an attorney.