Jones Day represented Alliantgroup, LP. Meadows Collier Et Al represented the University of Houston System and the University of Texas System. Porter & Hedges represented WHR Architects, Inc.
The district court dismissed plaintiffs’ allegations of violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and demands for declaratory relief invalidating a Texas statute concerning the allocations of energy-efficiency tax deductions with prejudice, and also dismissed pendent state law claims.
In 2017 the University of Texas and University of Houston systems sued Alliantgroup, a multimillion-dollar tax-credit consulting firm, for racketeering. The suit alleged that Alliantgroup and an architectural firm hired by the universities, WHR Architects, Inc., conspired to reap more than $1.6 million in unauthorized tax benefits from the 2007 construction of the $5.5 million University of Houston Center, and the construction of an MD Anderson parking garage and a UT-Health Science Center project.
Under 179D, owners of buildings that meet certain energy-efficient standards can apply for tax deductions. But only qualified government representatives can sign the “form of allocation” transferring tax credits, and this is where the plaintiffs claim WHR and Alliantgroup broke the rules: according to the university systems, WHR misled unauthorized representatives of the university systems into signing the allocation forms.
Meadows Collier Et Al represented the University of Houston System and the University of Texas System. The team was led by Alex J. Pilawski and Michael E. McCue.
Porter & Hedges represented WHR Architects, Inc. The team was led by Heather Kristine Hatfield, John Reid Hawkins and Katelin Elizabeth Cox.
Jones Day team was led by Kathryn Keneally (Picture), Jason Scott Varnado, Michael J. Scarduzio, Rajeev Muttreja and William Roquemore Taylor.
Involved fees earner: Kathy Keneally – Jones Day; Rajeev Muttreja – Jones Day; Michael Scarduzio – Jones Day; William Taylor – Jones Day; Jason Varnado – Jones Day; Michael McCue – Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins, Crouch & Ungerman, L.L.P; Alex Pilawski – Meadows, Collier, Reed, Cousins, Crouch & Ungerman, L.L.P; Katelin Cox – Porter Hedges LLP; Heather Hatfield – Porter Hedges LLP; John Hawkins – Porter Hedges LLP;