The people most directly impacted by the Copper Lounge collapse and their families blame several companies for their alleged roles. Now, some of those companies are responding to the lawsuits.
The Copper Lounge collapsed on December 2, 2016, killing Ethan McMahon and trapping Emily Fodness for several hours.
Last month the survivors and their families filed three separate civil lawsuits: one by Fodness and her family, one by Ethan McMahon’s family, and a third by Ethan’s brother John, who also survived the collapse.
This week some of the companies named in the lawsuit – Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC, Hultgren Construction, LLC, and RISE Structural Associates, Inc. – responded to the allegations.
Lawyers for each of the three companies deny their clients did anything wrong. The explanations in the responses raise questions about who was the project’s developer, contractor, engineer, and who owned the property.
In one document, Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC denies being the project’s developer. It says Boomerang Investments, LLC hired Hultrgen Construction, LLC. In another document, Hultgren Construction’s attorney says the company can’t confirm or deny that “Legacy” was the developer. All three companies are housed in the same building in the same suite.
Even the Fodness family’s lease is questioned. Their lawsuit says prior to the collapse they signed an agreement with “Legacy” and CLP Investments, LLC. Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC’s attorney denies that. The family’s lawsuit says the lease was printed out on “Legacy letterhead.” Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC also denies that, but admits the bottom of the lease agreement identifies Legacy Development & Consulting, LLC.
In the motion for a change of venue, the biggest question is who owned the property. Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC claims there was a lot of misinformation. Several television, newspaper, and radio stories listed Norm Drake or “Legacy” as the owner.
KELOLAND News reached out to Minnehaha County on Friday to clarify that. It turns out Boomerang Investments, LLC has owned the property since November 30, 2016 – two days before the collapse.
Again, Boomerang Investments, LLC has the same address as Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC. Documents filed with the Secretary of State’s office say Boomerang Investments, LLC is also managed by Norm Drake.