In March, Tony DeFeo of Port Huron Development announced plans to build a 500-room hotel, casino and indoor-waterpark resort in downtown Port Huron.
past business dealings, including those involving several medical facilities, show dashed hopes and brushes with state and federal regulators.
Local government and business officials who have worked with DeFeo
would not talk on the record about him or about his
Repeated calls Thursday to DeFeo's cell phone went unanswered.
According to the Associated Press
in 1995 opened a magnetic resonance imaging business in a Syracuse, N.Y., suburb.DeFeo
initially said he
planned to open 15 similar businesses across the country but in 1997 was sued for fraud by business partner Prime Leasing, Inc.
Prime Leasing claimed it spent $6.3 million to buy equipment for magnetic-resonance centers that did not exist.The Detroit Newsreported
that, in 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
a letter after patients couldn't recover medical records after his
medical facilities in Southfield, Detroit, Waterford and Novi closed.DeFeo
told The Detroit News he
didn't own the facilities referenced in the letter.An Internet search shows DeFeo is chief executive officer of Clinton Medical Associates and AR Associates, both based in Clinton Township.
According to the San Jose Mercury News
, AR Associates
was in 2004 involved in an ill-fated attempt to buy and renovate a $24 million San Jose hospital.The hospital was to be turned into an Indian medical facility.DeFeo
ultimately backed out of the deal, according to media reports.The Michigan Department of Community Health
in 2004 ordered Clinton Diagnostic, another Clinton Township business that identifies DeFeo
as its chief executive officer, to stop doing certain procedures until it received necessary state licenses.
In addition to the local casino and auto-manufacturing proposals, DeFeo
is helpingJohnston Aviation Co., Inc.
bring developers to the St. Clair County International Airport in Kimball Township, company
officials said.Johnston Aviation
, of Elyria, Ohio, is expected to assume management of the airport from the county in the next month.DeFeo
said Thursday the casino proposal is moving forward but wouldn't provide details.
Several investors contacted the Times Herald
after the casino proposal was announced in March, asking about the proposal's authenticity.
Several said they had invested $100,000 for a 1% share in the project.Recently, some said DeFeo
told them everything was a done deal and buildings would soon be demolished to make way for construction.
...Port Huron City Attorney John Livesay in December sent DeFeo a cease-and-desist letter, asking him to stop misrepresenting the city's support for the project.
According to Livesay's letter, the information said the city was offering "great support" for the project and implied the city planned to sell DeFeo
the property needed for the project.Prior to the March announcement, Thomas Edison Inn General Manager Linda Anthony also sent DeFeo a cease-and-desist letter on the hotel's behalf.
...BIG PLANS: Tony DeFeo of Port Huron Development has talked to city officials about putting a casino in Port Huron's central business district.
Officials say they heard nothing from DeFeo