Another Suit in Failed $1B Delaware Data Center Project Filed

Former president of The Data Centers sues company's former CEO

Jason Verge

January 2, 2015

2 Min Read
Another Suit in Failed $1B Delaware Data Center Project Filed
Rendering of the data center and power plant The Data Centers proposed to build on the University of Delaware’s STAR campus in Newark, Delaware. (Image: The Data Centers)

The failed data center and power plant project originally proposed for the University of Delaware’s STAR campus has become messier. In addition to several previously filed lawsuits from disgruntled parties, now one The Data Centers LLC partner is suing another.

The suit alleges that the partner mismanaged the business and hid information from the public. TDC has been searching for a new potential location, tossing Maryland in the mix as an option. The planned $1 billion project was an interesting one, since TDC was planning a cogeneration plant on site that would power the facility entirely.

The original suit came from two firms for $1.3 million in unpaid invoices for several services performed. Engineering firm Duffield Associates and site project manager Constructure Management filed a joint complaint in Delaware Superior Court.

Now former president of TDC Robert Krizman claims that Chief Executive Earl Eugene Kern froze him out of business affairs, then ran up millions in debt that the company cannot pay, Delaware Online News Journal reported. Krizman reportedly left an executive job at a major tech company (Jones Lang LaSalle) to form the limited liability company.

Given the nature of lawsuits, the involved parties are tight-lipped.

TDC has originally planned to build a large data center supported by a 279 megawatt energy generation facility featuring combined heat and power that would allow it to operate “off the grid” on a property owned by the university. While heralded as a forward-looking data center cogeneration project, it was met with sizable resistance by many members of the community.

That resistance led to expenses racked up while trying to win approval.

Krizman wants to be pardoned from the $1 million plus in expenses and wants the company to pay for his legal defense, the News Journal reported, citing court documents. He resigned in January 2014.

Krizman also alleges that Kern never secured financing for the $1 billion dollar project.

In April, the News Journal revealed details of a previous failed data center proposal by Kern at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.

The University of Delaware terminated its lease with TDC on July 10, following intense debate. The property is now being redeveloped as a science, tech, and research campus. The Delaware Economic Development Office had originally approved a $7.5 million grant for TDC if it met certain conditions.

Data centers have generally avoided NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) concerns as they are seen as great for communities, helping a tech scene thrive. However, in Northern Virginia, residents are currently contesting a proposed Dominion Power line and using the Delaware project as a template for their protests -- a fate predicted during this fiasco.

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