Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Indicted Colorado developer found dead after apparent suicide in Hernando County

Authorities accused Zach Davidson of stealing $3.1 million in bond money.

Authorities accused Zach Davidson of stealing $3.1 million in bond money.

BROOKSVILLE — Developer Zach Davidson arrived in the affluent city of Greenwood Village, Colo., seven years ago with a grand plan.

Davidson envisioned a $255 million project of condominiums, townhouses, restaurants and shops in the city of about 14,000 just south of Denver. He threw lavish parties to create a buzz, and it worked. Two luxury condo towers in his Landmark development got built, the first one selling out in a day.

"He got out into the community to meet the people who could write the checks for those units," recalled Mayor Ron Rakowsky, who was a City Council member at the time.

But the sputtering economy bankrupted the project. Then, last month, an Arapahoe County grand jury indicted Davidson, alleging he stole $3.1 million from public bonds issued for the Landmark development.

Last Tuesday, authorities say, Davidson drove his 2003 Mercedes sedan into the Withlacoochee State Forest in Hernando County and hanged himself. Two teenagers trail-riding in a pickup discovered the 45-year-old's body hanging by a rope from a tree near Forest Road 9, about a mile from Croom Road, east of Brooksville.

Authorities have not found a link between Davidson and Hernando County, but they did find a note in the Mercedes.

"It cited several areas of concern in his life which led to his decision to commit suicide," said Hernando sheriff's Sgt. Phil Lakin.

Davidson had not been in Colorado for about year, but investigators had tracked him to Bluffton, S.C., said Lisa Pinto, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office in Colorado's 18th Judicial Circuit.

"There was some indication he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest," Pinto said. "Certainly his behavior suggested he was trying to avoid capture."

Davidson's apparent suicide abruptly ends a criminal case that took investigators two years to build.

In 2007, Davidson got permission from the city to form a special district for the Landmark project, which included the condo towers and a planned "European village" featuring brownstone townhouses and manor homes. The district approved $31 million in bonds to pay for roads, sewers, landscaping and other infrastructure. The money would be repaid with property taxes levied within the district.

Over the next two years, Davidson embezzled some $3.1 million of that money, directing funds to his other companies and projects, according to the 20-count indictment.

The European village site is vacant land that will be sold and developed, Rakowsky said. The condos, which start at about $500,000 and top out about $2 million, are nearly full.

The District Attorney's Office will cooperate with any civil suit filed against Davidson's estate, Pinto said.

According to a 2007 story in the Denver Post, Davidson started his real estate career at NationsBank in North Carolina, spent a decade on Wall Street, and developed luxury condos in San Francisco during the dot-com boom. At the time of the profile, he was married with three children. He has since divorced, Pinto said.

Davidson boasted about the money he spent on parties promoting the Landmark project in Colorado.

"People say, 'Are you out of your mind?' That's what everyone has been telling me," he told the Post. "I said, 'It's okay if I lose some money, it's my money. I made it, God will take care of it.' "

Reach Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes and @HernandoTimes.

Indicted Colorado developer found dead after apparent suicide in Hernando County 01/14/13 [Last modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After emergency repairs, 40th Avenue Bridge reopens Wednesday

    Roads

    ST. PETERSBURG – The 40th Avenue NE bridge, closed several days for emergency repairs, is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday at 10 a.m., according to city officials.

    The 40th Avenue NE Bridge will be open for two-way traffic starting on Wed., Aug. 23, 2017. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  2. Groundbreaking today for complex on old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — A groundbreaking is slated for 10 a.m. today for a 400-unit apartment complex planned on the site of the former Tampa Tribune building in downtown Tampa.

    Renderings for a high-end apartment complex that will be built on the Tampa Tribune site in downtown Tampa. 
[Courtesy of Related Group]
  3. Walmart announces delivery partnership with Google

    Retail

    Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google to make online shopping easier for customers.

    People walk in and out of a Walmart store in Dallas. Walmart announced a new delivery partnership with Google.  [Associated Press]
  4. Rays morning after: Secret to Alex Colome's success is staying cool, calm, collected

    Blogs

    The ninth inning couldn't have started much worse for Rays closer Alex Colome on Tuesday, who took over with a 6-4 lead and quickly allowed a single and a double to bring the tying run to the plate.

  5. Review: David Abrams' 'Brave Deeds' is a stirring, sardonic war story

    Books

    With sabre-rattling by politicians in the air, it's a good time to be reminded what war is like for those who actually go fight it.