Firm Sues Mexican Consulate

 

By Alejandro Martinez / The Dallas Morning News  amartinez@aldiatx.com

A commercial real estate company is suing the Mexican Consulate in Dallas, alleging that it failed to pay for consulting services received in 2007.

A complaint filed on Monday before the U.S. District Court in Dallas states that Blake Box, president of a real estate firm, worked as a consultant for the Mexican Consulate throughout 2007, when it was in the process of finding a new and larger building for its offices.

Jason Dennis, Mr. Box's attorney, said that Mr. Box identified one of three buildings in a complex on River Bend Drive, near Mockingbird Lane and Stemmons Freeway, as a prospective site for the Mexican Consulate.

Mr. Box accuses the Mexican Consulate of backing out of a joint venture to purchase the three-building complex as a whole and later negotiating with a third party to buy the property.

"It's technically a lawsuit against the Mexican government, but diplomatic immunity doesn't apply when you're in the marketplace doing business. They're equal in the eyes of the court just as any individual or company is," Mr. Dennis said.

Eduardo Rea, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulat! e, said the consulate has no record of having signed a contract with Mr. Box.

"There's nothing that I can see that can back up" Mr. Box's claim, said Mr. Rea, adding that every contract between the consulate and third parties is recorded and needs approval from Mexico's foreign affairs secretary.

Mr. Dennis said there was an oral agreement between the two parties to pay Mr. Box.

"Agreements in Texas - whether oral or written - they're still valid contacts," he said.

Mr. Dennis said the amount of damages that Mr. Box would seek from the Mexican Consulate had not been determined.

Mr. Rea said the Mexican Consulate in December paid about $4 million to buy the property from Setco Enterprises Corp., which the Dallas Central Appraisal District still lists as the building's proprietor.

Copyright 2008 The Dallas Morning News
Record Number: 1181057737