Just one month ago Matt Wilson, the donor who became the owner of the new 50-acre Jewish Community Center at 99 Clarksville Road, spoke at a press conference announcing a multi-cultural resolution to the development’s unsettled status. Wilson was selling the property to Jack Lee, who was turning the Windsor Athletic Club that Wilson had started into the Sino-U.S. Science, Culture, and Sports Center and retaining the center’s other existing tenant, the Wilberforce Academy, a private Christian school.
But last Wednesday, September 24, an argument between Wilson and Lee, a Princeton resident with Sino-U.S. business interests whose legal name is Zhenzhong Li, apparently became physical. Lee filed a complaint later that day with West Windsor police, who charged Wilson with aggravated assault the next morning. Wilson voluntarily turned himself in the same day and was released on $1,000 bail set by West Windsor municipal judge Kenneth Lozier.
West Windsor police have sent the charge to Mercer County Superior Court, Lieutenant Matthew Kemp said, and the case will be reviewed for possible indictment by the prosecutor’s office. “They will make a determination to see if they will hear it at [the Superior Court] level, hear it at the municipal level, or [send it to] a diversionary program,” Kemp said.
According to Lee, interviewed at the Windsor Athletic Club on September 29 in a mixture of English and Chinese, Lee’s company purchased the site and the Windsor Athletic Club from Wilson for a total of $19 million, with a $6 million down payment and the remaining payments to be made over a four-year period. Wilson agreed to stay on at the WAC as a consultant to facilitate the transition, Lee said.
But one week after the September 3 opening ceremony, Wilson had offered to return the $6 million down payment to Lee’s group in exchange for the property. Lee rejected Wilson’s offer to cancel the transaction, and also declined Wilson’s offer to completely manage the property. Lee says that Matt’s wife, Staci, visited the athletic club September 27 and was escorted off the premises. Under the conditions of Wilson’s bail, he is not allowed onto 99 Clarksville Road and he cannot contact Lee.
The 80,000-square-foot property was originally envisioned as the Jewish Community Campus of Princeton Mercer Bucks, and Wilson’s $11 million loan made him the proposed center’s largest individual benefactor. Fundraising shortages in the fall of 2012 ended the project, and the property deed was transferred to Wilson in 2013.
Wilson was reached by phone on the morning of September 29 and said he would prefer to speak later that afternoon. But calls made that afternoon and again the next morning went to his voicemail and were not returned.