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— Janopaul denies the charges in the suit and insists that neither he nor Block ever said the building wouldn't be constructed soon. He produces documents showing that condo buyers were aware that the adjoining property might be developed. "They are in advanced denial," says Janopaul, slamming their alleged "wishful, revisionist behavior."

Bruins acknowledges that some people initialed documents noting that the adjoining property might be developed, but at the same time, Janopaul/Block and their sales people were talking out of the other sides of their mouths -- a common two-track deception in such deals.

Residents of El Cortez and the nearby Discovery at Cortez Hill residential building were annoyed when, without adequate notice, the block was split into separate parcels, thus permitting the 777 Beech Street building. "I had no idea that the historic block had been divided into two parcels until 2005," says Rita Collier of Discovery. She found that none of the 199 Discovery unit owners had been notified.

She sympathizes with her friends at the El Cortez who have so many plumbing problems. "It's incredible to see Janopaul drive in from Rancho Santa Fe in his new Porsche or Mercedes SUV when he won't fix a darn thing at the El Cortez," she says. Janopaul says he owns two homes in Rancho Santa Fe and has loved cars since his youth in Modesto.

Key question: are Janopaul and Block throwing good money after bad developing a new residential unit in overbuilt downtown? "The market for blah condos downtown is on life support, but the great stuff will always sell," Janopaul replies. He believes that he will get 777 Beech Street on the market in 2009 or 2010, which will be "decent enough timing." He has faith -- in the development-obsessed City bureaucracy.

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