It could be as simple as P. T. Barnum's old saying, "There's a sucker born every minute."
But in a thoroughly researched report in today's Houston Chronicle, former City Manager Mark Rohr, now the city manager of League City, Texas, says the company was completely investigated before he and the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team (CART) recommended its hiring.
Mayor Mike Seibert also thought the hiring of Wallace-Bajjali would be great for Joplin.
Wallace showed up in Joplin with plans for a re-imagined city: It could soon be home to a minor league baseball stadium - a common thread among his renovation proposals - and a new hotel, a medical school and a nursing home, even a vast commercial development with a movie theater. In all there would be 17 different projects, Joplin's Mayor Seibert said.
"We thought we'd made a great decision," Seibert said of the city's choice to hire Wallace Bajjali.
Their partnership had been one of six companies to submit a redevelopment proposal to Joplin's Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, a group responsible for guiding the city through its rebuilding. Four of these groups were interviewed, but the advisory team only presented one to City Council for approval: Wallace Bajjali.
Mark Rohr, then Joplin's city manager, said he knew of Wallace Bajjali's history but didn't think at the time it should knock the firm out of the running. Lawsuits and even bankruptcies are not uncommon in the world of development and construction.
"Everything was vetted on the front end, thoroughly," Rohr said.
Not everyone was fooled by the former Sugar Land, Texas, mayor. Also, from the Houston Chronicle article:
Rosenberg said he was always suspicious of Wallace Bajjali and had raised concerns in the 2012 meeting about lack of information on the company.
"He reminded me a lot of an aluminum siding salesman who just got off a Greyhound bus and was going to sell all he could and then get back on the bus and leave," Rosenberg said of Wallace.