Former Riverlife developer involved in $2.2 million purchase of property across street from Riverlife

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- A former Riverlife developer who filed for bankruptcy in April is involved in the private purchase of the ABC Supply Company building on Fulton Street in Wausau.

Mike Frantz, listed as the agent for ABC Wausau Properties LLC created in August of 2018, purchased the property from Hendricks Commercial Properties for $2.283 million on May 14, according to Marathon County land records—just a few weeks after his bankruptcy filing.

NewsChannel 7 heard from Franz Wednesday afternoon, who says, "“I absolutely do not own any of ABC Wausau Properties LLC, I just helped them put together the deal.”

While his address is listed on the property records in Marathon County for the building, he says he does not own the property, and that the building is not one of his assets.

“I continue to help the investor groups to manage the property” going forward, he said, describing his role as a consultant to ABC Wausau Properties.

The building is just across the street from the development project that has plagued the city’s east river front, where Frantz’s $80 million plan was chosen as the first developer on a storyline that would eventually saddle the city with more than $2 million in unpaid contractor bills and a developer with a history of fraud.

Frantz was a partner with Frantz Community Investors. In 2018, he brought Quantum Ventures LLC into the project, whose CEO Jason Sharkey left after it was found he had been involved in a fraud scheme. Frantz bought out Quantum Ventures and the development continued, but construction stalled and the city eventually kicked them off the project. The city was named in a $2.7 million lawsuit last year from the Samuels Group after both Quantum Ventures and Frantz’s co-developer, Barker Financial, failed to pay the construction lien. Frantz was kicked off the project—not the first that he has left in Wisconsin.

Loss of financial backing also forced him to step away from Hotel Northland in Green Bay while he was still on the Riverlife development, causing his funding stream to dry up and cause him to leave another Wisconsin development as well, the Retlaw Plaza Hotel in Fond du Lac.

But this year, just a few weeks after filing for bankruptcy and declaring about $40 million in debt, he was involved in the more than $2 million purchase of the ABC Supplies building. NewsChannel 7 has reached out to ABC Supplies for comment on their future plans for the building, and will update this article if we receive a response.

The sale is private, and it’s unclear so far where the money came from for the sale. Franz told NewsChannel 7 Wednesday that the LLC is owned by investors who prefer to remain anonymous at this time.

Chris Schock, Wausau’s economic development director, says the city knows about the sale, but that’s about all they know.

“The city is aware of the sale,” he told us in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We have no comment…if we do have information on things, we’re glad to share it. But we don’t know anything at this point,” he explained.

This report and headline was updated Wednesday afternoon to include Franz' statement.