Home builder Kathryn Thompson has resigned her positions with financially ailing Koll Real Estate Group, which bought her development business several years ago but has been unable to turn it into a profitable enterprise.
Thompson's resignation was announced in a brief two-paragraph statement issued Monday by Koll Real Estate Group. The company, an affiliate of developer Donald M. Koll's privately owned Koll Co., said Thompson was stepping down as a director of Koll Real Estate and as an executive of several subsidiary companies, "in order to pursue independent development projects."
Thompson could not be reached for comment.
Other sources said Koll and Thompson have not had a happy relationship since Koll Real Estate acquired the assets of her Kathryn G. Thompson Co. for $7.5 million in 1994. At the time, Thompson's company, developer of a big chunk of the planned community of Aliso Viejo, was near collapse.
Last year, Koll Real Estate took a $5-million write-down against losses from the Aliso Viejo operations it acquired from Thompson.
However, the company's announcement of Thompson's departure made no reference to any friction or to Koll Real Estate's financial problems.
Koll Real Estate announced last week that its bondholders were taking a 90% stake in the company in return for assuming nearly $200 million in long-term debt. Under that plan, representatives of the bondholder group will be able to fill six of the 10 board seats.
Koll, founder of the private development and property management company that bears his name, will remain chairman of the board of the real estate group, which became a public company several years ago. Koll also will be able to keep three allies on the board.
Although Raymond Pacini, Koll Real Esate's chief financial officer, says that Thompson's departure had nothing to do with the board's realignment, others suggested that Thompson likely was one of the six board members that Koll has decided he could do without.
Thompson will retain the use of the Kathryn G. Thompson Co. name. Koll Real Estate said it will place several subsidiaries that now use the Thompson name under the new umbrella identity of Koll Communities. The subsidiaries will continue under current management and staff to develop a 1,300-unit residential project in Aliso Viejo.
Industry sources said Thompson has several projects underway that were not part of Koll. She is building an 89-unit condominium development in Aliso Viejo, a single-family housing development in Santa Clarita and a public housing project in Harbor City for the city of Los Angeles.