Carson businessman denies lawsuit allegations

Carson City businessman Ron Weddell says an accusation he converted $10 million from a Las Vegas development isn't true.

Weddell said Wednesday a lawsuit filed by partner Tom Gonzales of Commerce Associates claiming he improperly withdrew more than $10 million for his "his own personal multi-million dollar slush fund" is an attempt by Gonzales to squeeze him out of the company.

"I was managing member of Commerce Associates when we purchased about 508 acres in Henderson, which was a gravel pit," Weddell said. "Under my management, we took that gravel pit and turned it into a viable project."

Weddell said that Gonzales has agreed to loan the project $55 million in exchange for half interest in the property.

"This is a classic case of a super rich guy trying to squeeze out other members of the company," Weddell said. "He's challenging what I've done, claiming all these damages, yet he's willing to provide $55 million."

In a 22-page complaint filed in Clark County District Court on May 30, computer software developer Gonzales alleges his partner Weddell improperly withdrew more than $10 million of Commerce's funds for

Gonzales also alleges Weddell, a Las Vegas home builder, falsely claimed to have invested $5.4 million in the company, according to a story appearing Monday in the Las Vegas Sun.

Gonzales is suing to recover financial losses for damages caused by Weddell's alleged fraud and for an alleged embezzlement scheme carried out by Weddell and his son Steven Weddell.

Gonzales and Weddell incorporated Commerce Associates in December 1999 with a plan to purchase and develop a stalled Henderson subdivision, then known as Palm City.

Commerce purchased Palm City in January 2000 for a reported $30 million.

Gonzales says he has invested $73.6 million in the 525-acre project.

The master-planned community was renamed Tuscany and is envisioned to include 1,900 homes, some priced as much as $400,000.

Bob Wilson, manager for the Henderson Redevelopment Agency, said he would be surprised if the lawsuit slowed development of Tuscany.

"This is a dispute over small change -- in their world," Wilson told the Sun.

Weddell has been engaged in a legal battle with Carson City authorities over an attempted citizen's arrest in a drug case involving his daughter.

He fired four shots Oct. 17 at a person he said was a fleeing felon, which Weddell argued, allowed him to use deadly force.

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled against Weddell on April 10.


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