Everyone Is Sued; Attorneys Dismissed in a Realty Case

Except for the fact that they were there, there is little in this decision to show why the attorneys were sued.  Antonelli v Guastamacchia  2013 NY Slip Op 32046(U)  August 22, 2013  Supreme Court, Richmond County Docket Number: 100705/08  Judge: Joseph J. Maltese tells the story of a good real estate and mortgage company gone bad, and how the attorneys were not involved.

"The plaintiff, Nicholas Antonelli, is a businessperson versed in real estate transactions and money lending. Antonelli operates several real estate businesses, including several mortgage brokerage firms. On or about December 27, 2004, Antonelli advanced the sum of $600,000 for
the purposes of purchasing property to construct, and eventually sell eight homes on Sprague
Avenue and Amboy Road, on Staten Island, New York to the Decker Defendants’ escrow account to pay for expenses of the project, for which the 7296-7304 Realty Corp (“Realty Corp.”) was established. Steven Decker, Decker, Decker, Dito & Internicola, LLP and their predecessor firm represented Antonelli, his wife Susan Guiffre, and his various companies in connection with making mortgage loans for 20 years. Guastamacchia and Lentini constructed the eight homes. The first six homes were sold without incident. According to the deposition testimony elicited in this action, Guastamacchia would keep Antonelli apprised of the status of the closings as they took place. During the first six closings the Decker defendants represented Realty Corp. in the transactions, with Guastamacchia appearing on behalf of the Realty Corp. "

"The last two units to be sold were located at 7300 Amboy Road and 7302 Amboy Road on Staten Island. On August 28, 2007, the defendant Catherine Guastamacchia applied for a loan from the defendant HCI to “refinance” and “cash out” the properties located at 7300 Amboy Road and 7302 Amboy Road. On September 13, 2007 and September 14, 2007 the Realty Corp transferred these to properties to Catherine and Vito Lentini and the properties were subsequently refinanced. These actions were taken without Antonelli’s knowledge or consent. Indeed, there is no evidence that the Decker defendants were in anyway involved with the transfers and subsequent mortgages on the last 2 houses that Guastamacchia and Lentini transferred from the Realty Corp. unto themselves without Decker’s knowledge or consent. This was a conversion by Guastamacchia and Lentini.
On or about February 10, 2006, Antonelli’s corporation, Cucamonga, LLC made a loan in the amount of $499,000 to V.E.V. Development LLC. In return Cucamonga, LLC received a mortgage on property located at 157 Kiswick Avenue, Staten Island, New York. The plaintiffs’ allege that the Decker defendants failed to file a mortgage lien on this property. In deposition testimony in connection with this action, Antonelli testified that this loan was repaid in its entirety and consequently, there are no damages sustained by Antonelli. But more importantly, Cucamonga, LLC is not a party to this action."

'Here, the Decker Defendants demonstrated that they did not commit any acts of negligence. It is acknowledged by the plaintiffs that the Decker Defendants were not in any way involved in the transfer of 7300 Amboy Road and 7302 Amboy Road from the Realty Corp. to the Lentinis. Moreover, with respect to the Kiswick Avenue property, it is conceded that the plaintiff Antonelli’s loan was repaid in fully. Consequently, there is no evidence that Antonelli sustained any damage
irrespective of whether the Decker Defendants failed to file a mortgage lien on the Kiswick  Avenue property. Consequently, the plaintiffs’ failed to raise an issue of fact in opposition to the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, nor have they met their burden going forward on
their own motion for summary judgment. Therefore, summary judgment is granted in favor of
the Decker Defendants."

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