Hotel Owner Claims Foul on Wessman Construction Next Door

Hotel Owner Claims Foul on Wessman Construction Next Door

Max Rodriguez

The owner of The Rossi in Palm Springs claims the construction next to her hotel of luxury condos by Wessman Development Inc. violates a city zoning code.

The first and second phase of St. Baristo were completed by 2006, but through the recession, the third phase sat as an empty lot until last month, when a bulldozer awoke the guest of The Rossi.

The owner of the hotel, Marina Rossi said she was not expecting the construction, “We were given no notification what so ever, the bulldozers showed up at 7 AM on April fourth.”

Rossi said she can put-up with the noise, but she does not put up with the preferential treatment she alleges from the city to Wessman.

The land for the final phase of St. Baristo sat empty for over 10 years, and she points to the Planned Development District code, 94.03.00 (I)(2), she said, “It clearly states if in two years a planned development phased project is not completed they must go back to the planning commission.”

But Rossi says there was no meeting with the planning commission.

“Wessman Development didn’t do that,” Rossi said. “The city didn’t require them to do that and we would like to know why.”

The application for the project was submitted by John Wessman in 2003, the former owner of Wessman Development Inc., but the company has changed its name since to Grit Development.

Wessman stepped down as the leader of the company when an FBI raid led to the Riverside County District attorney to file felony charges against Wessman for allegedly bribing elected officials. 

Rossi is now afraid the three-story construction that will look down at her property is an outcome of the alleged backdoor deals.

She said, “Every time I look at our view coming from the entrance and look that way which is going to be blocked it makes me want to cry.”

KMIR News reached out to numerous Palm Springs city officials as well as Grit Development, they all declined to comment on this specific development citing ongoing litigation.

However, Palm Springs Mayor, Robert Moon, said he follows decisions by the planning commission closely and assures they have been playing by the rules.