Lawrence developer sentenced to prison in hotel tax case
July 16, 2020
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The developer of a seven-story hotel adjacent to the University of Kansas was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for a scheme to collect fraudulent tax refunds from the city of Lawrence.
Thomas S. Fritzel, 54, of Lawrence was also fined $25,000, the U.S. attorney's office said in a news release.
Fritzel pleaded guilty in January to one count of criminal conspiracy.
Fritzel, part owner and manager of Oread Inn, had an agreement with the city of Lawrence to finance the more than $40 million hotel project. He was to be repaid $11 million for public improvements such as street repairs and a public parking garage.
Fritzel admitted in his plea deal that he and others caused false monthly Kansas sales tax returns to be submitted to the state. The reports stated the sales occurred within a redevelopment district when in fact they happened outside it.
The indictment alleged the scheme cost the city $400,000. A civil lawsuit filed by the city was settled in 2017.
In a separate case, Fritzel previously was convicted of illegally disposing of roofing material containing asbestos while remodeling a country club.