$2 billion lawsuit filed against casino contractor
Sarkis Izmirlian, CEO of BML Properties, had a dream. The dream was to build a multi-billion dollar integrated resort in the Bahamas that would become a mecca of the Caribbean. The $4.2 billion Baha Mar would attract high-end gamblers from all over the world. Unfortunately, the dream turned into a nightmare and now Izmirlian wants his money back.
On Dec. 26, Izmirlian, through his BML Properties company, filed a suit in New York State Supreme Court against the resort’s primary contract, China Construction America (CCA). CCA is the American arm of the Chinese state-run China State Construction Engineering Corp. The suit asks for $2.25 billion for what Izmirlian says is the largest case of fraud in the northern hemisphere.
Baha Mar was being developed by Izmirlian’s Baha Mar Ltd company, established for development of the resort. He was deposed as the developer in 2015 when the company sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Izmirlian has accused CCA of not meeting construction schedules, purposely deceiving BML, submitted inflated bills to the tune of tens of millions of dollars and absconding with a $54 million advance it was given in 2014. That money, according to Izmirlian, was used to purchase a Hilton Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas. Baha Mar was ultimately acquired by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a Hong Kong conglomerate.