Summit County charges former Main Street businessman with 3 felonies
A long-running series of lawsuits over property on lower Main Street has jumped into criminal court. Kenneth Abdalla has already been accused of owing millions of dollars. He now faces the prospect of 15 years in prison.
For years, a group of buildings at the corner of Heber Avenue and Main Street in Park City have been at the center of multi-million dollar lawsuits. Now, they’re at the center of a criminal case.
On Monday, Summit County charged Kenneth Abdalla with three second-degree felonies: theft; a pattern of unlawful activity; and unlawful dealing of property by a fiduciary. The allegations stem from Abdalla’s involvement with what was formerly known as the Sky Lodge condominium hotel and other properties across Main Street from what is now L.L. Bean.
Second-degree felonies carry potential sentences of one to 15 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. No attorney was listed for Abdalla in court records Tuesday morning. Attempts to contact Abdalla through attorneys who have previously represented him were not immediately successful.
Abdalla became a prominent property owner in Park City in the early 2010s after acquiring several properties near the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue.
According to the court filing, Abdalla, his then-wife and related business entities in 2012 acquired all six commercial properties associated with what was then the Sky Lodge, and a roughly 30% share in the residences. The commercial properties include the historic railroad depot, which housed the Sundance Properties-owned Zoom restaurant before it closed. Other tenants included businesses and condominium owners who also rented their units in a hotel-like arrangement.
The charges allege Abdalla and the other entities accumulated control of the properties’ management structure in the following years. By 2017, the charges allege, Abdalla and his then-wife had appointed or elected all members of the properties’ management committee, which prepared annual budgets. The charges allege the association's budgets ballooned from $1.5 million in 2015 to $4 million in 2017, and the financial burden shifted away from the commercial properties Abdalla controlled to residential owners.
Meanwhile, the property fell into severe disrepair, the charges allege. In 2015, an Abdalla-controlled company was hired to manage the property for $10,000 per month.
The filing says civil lawsuits led to a court-appointed receiver, who performed a forensic audit and discovered evidence of criminal activity. The filing also says the Park City Police Department received a report of the alleged fraud.
The charges allege Abdalla and related business entities owed the property owners association nearly $4.2 million. The county alleges nearly $3.8 million of that sum was spent on expenses not associated with the property owners association, including payments to Abdalla’s personal chef and nanny. The county also alleges some of the money was used to buy food and liquor for a restaurant controlled by an Abdalla-related LLC.
The filing says the misappropriation occurred over four years, with about $143,000 spent after May 2, 2018. That appears to be a key date. According to Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, there is a four-year statute of limitations in this case.
An initial appearance in 3rd District Court has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, June 6.