The Legal Beat

The Legal Beat: Ramapo Sued Over Transfer of Parkland To Developer; Pearl River Business Sued For Unpaid Overtime

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Ramapo and Local Development Corporation Sued Over Transfer Of Town-Owned Parkland

Skyview Acres Land Trust, a New York nonprofit established as a land conservancy, and other plaintiffs have filed suit against the Town of Ramapo, the Ramapo Local Development Corporation and others asking a Rockland County Supreme Court Judge to enter an order setting aside the transfer of 25 acres of land plaintiff’s claim is dedicated park land.

The suit alleges the land at 301 Pomona Road in the Village of New Hempstead was illegally gifted to the Ramapo Local Development Corporation for private commercial development without approval from the New York State Legislature. New York State law prohibits the sale or transfer of designated park land without legislative approval.

The gifted land was sold in 2017 by Ramapo Local Development Corporation to a private developer, Parkway Gateway Development LLC, a Delaware LLC.

According to the suit, the town originally acquired the land in 2005 to preserve as open space with municipal bonds. The 25-acre parcel on Pomona Road was valued at the time at $3.75 million.

The Local Development Corporation sold the land in 2017 to Parkway Gateway for $5.7 million, though according to the suit, only $1 million of the purchase price was paid at the time. The balance due was subject to adjustment based on proposed plans for 485,000 square feet of mixed-use development. If less than the 485,000 square feet was approved, the price would be adjusted downward, according to the contract the local development group had with the buyer.

The deal also included provisions for the Local Development Corporation to share the profits from the development, but the suit says that agreement was never memorialized.

The Village of New Hempstead in 2021 updated its comprehensive plan and rezoned the parcel at issue to allow for a planned unit development, commercial use, residential use and/or a hotel. A separate suit is pending challenging the village’s amendment of its comprehensive plan and rezoning of the land at 301 Pomona Road. The land across from Clover Stadium remains vacant.

The suit was filed on March 23, 2022; Index Number: SU-2022-031226.

Plaintiff Accuses Luigi O’Grady’s, Owner Michelle Worob, Of Violating Fair Labor Standards Law

A former employee of Luigi O’Grady’s Deli & Catering of Pearl River is suing the company and its owner, Michelle Worob, for backpay on overtime wages, among other charges related to the Fair Labor Standards Act including failure to comply with notice and record-keeping requirements.

The plaintiff Erodita Xiomara Perez Salguero, who has filed this suit individually and for a class of “employees similarly situated,” in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York against CM Enterprises of Rockland Inc, which owns O’Grady’s, is alleging that the defendants denied employees fair minimum wage compensation, as well as failing to pay overtime.

Perez worked for Luigi O’Grady’s from August 2019 to November 2021 making salads, decorating cookies, and cleaning. Through the course of her employment, the plaintiff worked 54 hours per week, Wednesday to Monday, 8 am to 4 pm, according to the suit.

Perez alleges that she “oftentimes worked until 5 pm or 6 pm.”

The suit also says Perez was paid $11 per hour for three years without any increase in salary. “The lawful salary for Rockland County was $11.10 in 2019, 11.80 in 2020, and $12.50 in 2020,” according to the suit. “The plaintiff was told she could not earn minimum wage because she does not speak English.”

The suit also says her employer “never provided any wage statements, time sheets or other documents showing the number of hours she worked every week, nor was she provided a wage notice at the time of hire.”

Luigi O’Grady’s, according to the filing, violated the Fair Labor Standards Law and the New York Labor Law by failing to post notices explaining the minimum wage rights of employees.

The suit has been filed as a “collective action,” because the plaintiff, according to the filing, “has personal knowledge of other employees who are similarly situated and who also worked for hours for which they were not paid minimum wages.”

The collective action members include anyone who was employed by O’Grady’s from January 2016 to the present.

Under Overtime Provisions of the NYLL and FLSA, O’Grady’s failed to pay the plaintiff overtime compensation rates of one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for each hour worked beyond forty hours per week.

Perez is seeking unpaid wages, as well as civil penalties for what the suit calls willful and repeated violations under FLSA.” The suit is also asking the court for a civil penalty of $10,000, as well as attorney’s fees.

The case has been referred to mediation by the federal court which is scheduled for April 20.