WAUSAU (WAOW) - The ownership of the company looking to develop condos, apartments and retail space along the riverfront near downtown Wausau has changed following concerns about the founder of the company.
Mike Frantz said Tuesday he has purchased full ownership of Quantum Ventures, meaning founder Jason Sharkey is no longer involved in the $20 million Riverlife Village project.
Questions were raised following a Denver newspaper report that Sharkey was charged with securities fraud for his role in a real estate scam in Colorado years ago.
"I want to thank Jason Sharkey for all he has done to advance the Riverlife Village project," Frantz said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it has quickly become clear that the detractors of this project have chosen to make him the story versus what the project represents for the City of Wausau. Jason proposed the change, which I reluctantly accepted, so that Quantum Ventures and the City of Wausau can get back to focusing on the project itself."
The city council's finance committee met late Tuesday afternoon to discuss the riverfront project with Frantz. He said Wausau public opinion on Sharkey's situation has been blown out of proportion.
"The one inflammatory press release that came out of the Denver Post, or whatever it was, said Jason Sharkey was convicted of fraud, which was a bald-faced lie," said Frantz.
Mayor Robert Mielke announced that his administration plans to become more involved in the vetting process for investors and developers to prevent these types of situations in the future.
Quantum Ventures took over as the investor in the Riverlife Village in early January. Work on the project started last fall.