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Developer sued by former business partners

By: Gary Sinderson and WJAC Web Staff

BELLEFONTE, Pa.--A businessman who could have a big hand in downtown development in a Centre County community is facing new possible problems. Hes involved in multimillion dollar housing projects, but a new lawsuit is raising questions about his past business practices and finances.

Ara Kervandjian is already in the midst of a controversy over plans to tear down the Garman Theatre in Bellefonte to make way for a housing project. He's been facing a challenge from a historical group that wants to save the theater.

But this new lawsuit hits closer to home--its from his in-laws and former business partners, who are part of the HFL Corporation, where Kervandjian was a vice president until earlier this year.

The lawsuit claims that Kervandjian got involved in whats termed side projects, such as Bellefonte Mews and plans to develop a former Arbys site in downtown State College, without fully disclosing the plans to HFL corporate partners. The suit also claims that the side projects are in direct competition with HFL.

Earlier this month, the HFL board held a special meeting to discuss the issue.

Kervandjian wouldnt comment on if the suit would impact the Bellefonte development plans.

According to the lawsuit, Kervandjian was a salaried vice president with HFL from 2010 until June 2013. He is involved in another development organization, PDG Progress that has developed other projects.

The civil suit was filed yesterday in Centre County Court.

As for the Bellefonte Mews project, the developer is awaiting word from Bellefonte Borough Council on approval to demolish the Garman Theatre. That word could come as early as next week.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times