NewsCall 6 Investigates


Embattled Kokomo developer ordered to pay $34K judgment in spat over Firestone Plaza

Jeff Broughton sued by Fortune Companies
Posted at 6:20 PM, May 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 23:16:33-04

KOKOMO, Ind.—  A Howard County court has ordered embattled developer Jeff Broughton to pay a $34,402.63 judgment.

The judgment stems from a lawsuit filed on April 4 by Kokomo development and brokerage company Fortune Companies.

Fortune Companies, owned by Scott Pitcher, filed the lawsuit against Broughton and two companies Home Banc Center, Inc. and Kipcor 219, LLC.

It alleges Fortune Companies provided labor and materials for the Firestone Building located at 219 N. Union Street in Kokomo, but Broughton never paid the bill.

In 2014, then-Governor Mike Pence and mayors from Kokomo and Carmel gathered in front of Firestone Plaza to tout the expansion of California tech company Systems in Motion, now known as Nexient.

But the project never fully came to fruition.

The 29,658-square-foot commercial Firestone Plaza building is now for sale, listed for $959,900.

Fortune Companies’ lawsuit alleges Broughton was “unjustly enriched by the failure to pay” for the services rendered by Fortune Companies.

The $34,402.63 judgment includes accrued interest and late fees for the services.

Broughton now lives in Culver, Indiana, court records show.

RTV6 has reached out to Broughton for comment on the judgment but has not yet gotten a response.

Nexient moved out of the Firestone Plaza in 2016, citing “maintenance and safety issues,” and relocated to North Washington Street in Kokomo.

The building’s sole remaining tenant, IU Kokomo’s downtown art gallery recently moved to the courthouse square.

Joey Kimbrough, an investor of the Firestone Plaza, said he and other investors put in hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Firestone project but have not seen a dollar in return.

Kimbrough said it makes sense to place the building up for sale.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for someone to develop it and it could be a big win for someone in the community,” said Kimbrough. 

Call 6 Investigates has raised questions about the Firestone project’s developer, Jeff Broughton, including that in 2014 Broughton settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission and is banned from providing mortgage loan modification and foreclosure relief services.

CALL 6 | Kokomo investor's past raises concerns | Work stopped on Kokomo development project amid planning concerns

Broughton has declined interview requests from Call 6 Investigates.

The listing touts the building's “high traffic location with great visibility.”

Zoning allows Firestone Plaza to be used for mixed-use including apartments, office space, restaurants and retail.

As Call 6 Investigates reported last year, investors stepped in to save the building from the county’s tax sale after Broughton had not paid taxes on the building in more than two years.

RELATED | Tax trouble for once touted Kokomo building

CALL 6 | Kokomo investor's past raises concerns | Work stopped on Kokomo development project amid planning concerns

When Call 6 Investigates stopped by the Firestone building in the fall, we found missing glass, the elevator not working, construction debris and vacant offices.

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