Future of planned event center unclear after investors claim fraud in lawsuit

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The future of Noah’s Event Venue, planned for 13315 Illinois St., Carmel, is in doubt after investors filed a lawsuit claiming they were defrauded, and then the parent company soon after filed for bankruptcy.

The lawsuit, filed April 30 in a Utah court, states that the plaintiffs believed they were investing in a three-story event center already built or under construction and instead were sold vacant land. It claims they were led to believe each of Noah’s more than 40 event centers across the nation were financially separate and successful but later discovered otherwise.

“Older investment venues paid steady returns to investors, not on the basis of successful management and profitability, as represented by Defendants, but through cash generated by new investments or cash generated from other facilities,” the lawsuit states.

It also states that Noah’s Event Venue founder, William Bowser, used the plaintiff’s investment funds to pay debts and complete construction on other properties and that in March Bowser announced that Noah’s would stop making payments to the investors.

The lawsuit states the investors are mostly older, retired individuals from across the nation who collectively invested nearly $5 million to purchase Noah’s Carmel through a tenant-in-common structure, which allows multiple people to own a property. According to Hamilton County records, the vacant property is assessed at $294,000.

Utah-based Noah Corporation filed for bankruptcy in late May, complicating the matter.

Officials from Noah’s Event Venue and an attorney representing them did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

The Carmel Board of Zoning Appeals Hearing Officer approved a variance for Noah’s in December 2018, and the company applied for a building permit on April 10 but never paid the related fees or followed up, according to City of Carmel spokesman Dan McFeely.

Information provided to the Carmel Plan Commission for a November 2018 meeting stated that the 12,792-square-foot building was expected to host large events, such as weddings on weekends and corporate meetings during the week. It was planned to include a main hall with an adjustable stage, lobby and event-staging area on the first floor and include a large meeting room and two conference rooms on the second floor. The third floor would have two small conference rooms and an open-air large meeting room.

Noah’s operates more than 40 facilities in more than 20 states, but the proposed Carmel location was the first to be three stories.

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