NEW ORLEANS -- City officials plan to meet with a controversial developer as early as next week to discuss hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees for construction of a new high-rise to replace the vacant Woolworth Building on Canal Street.
The developer, Mohan Kailas, is the father of the project’s original front-man, Praveen Kailas, whose theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state’s Road Home program was first exposed by WWL-TV.
When Praveen Kailas was sentenced to 30 months in prison in December, federal Judge Sarah Vance said Mohan played an integral role in the fraud but escaped penalty in his son's plea deal.
Kailas received initial approvals to build a 17-story mixed-use development at 1031 Canal Street, at the corner of Canal and Rampart streets, even getting the City Council to waive existing height limitations.
On Feb. 10, Kailas was billed $383,028 for two building fees, building plan reviews and Historic District Landmarks Commission reviews. Mayoral spokesman Tyler Gamble said Kailas has only paid $60,331 to date.
A letter sent to the project architect by Safety and Permits Director Jared Munster on Feb. 11 said the review process would not move forward until $179,212 of the invoices have been paid. Gamble said that letter is still in effect.