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Friday 18 Mar 2011

The principle problem?

Editorial by WAN Editorial
Colleen Lane 
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Architect J. Robert Hillier weighs in on the RMJM lawsuit 

Ever since he left the helm of The Hillier Group, one of the largest architecture firms in the US before it was sold to the Morrison’s eventually becoming RMJM, architect Bob Hillier has stayed largely out the spotlight. But there are some things you just can’t get out of your blood. And for Hillier, architecture is one of them.

After having invested in a couple of publications in Princeton, N.J. (he now owns two, the Town Topics, a local newspaper and Princeton Magazine, a lifestyle magazine) he returned to architecture and now operates a new practice, J. Robert Hiller in Princeton, which focuses on local development projects.

Since the news of the RMJM lawsuit broke earlier this year, Hillier has been all but silent on the matter. But in a recent interview with a local reporter, Scott Morgan of the US 1 Newspaper, Hillier spoke of the lawsuit for the first time publicly and revealed several interesting facts that some may find surprising.

Hillier told Morgan that he himself is not part of the lawsuit. “A lot of stories have said I am suing RMJM and in fact I am not” Hiller said. “The former principals of Hiller are. I am simply their representative.” But what followed was a bombshell. Hillier told the reporter that in addition to his getting no money from the suit he has been completely paid his proceeds from the merger.

RMJM brought Hillier at the top of the market in 2007. Assuming the firm cost the Morrison’s a pretty penny and that that debt is all but paid, one has to wonder if the Morrison’s buyout agreement is at the very root of their current undoing. It looks like score one for Bob Hillier in this match but the game is not yet over.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

WAN Editorial

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