The Legal Beat

ZVG Fights To Force Sale of HNA Center; Litigation Updates On Pearl River Chamber of Commerce Cases

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ZVG Files Court Response Seeking to Stave Off Dismissal Of Its Action To Force Sale of HNA Training Center

ZVG @ Palisades LLC filed papers last Friday in court against HNA Training Center NY LLC, owner of the HNA property on Route 9W in Palisades, hoping to stave off dismissal of its lawsuit and the cancellation of its lis pendens. ZVG is asking the Court to force HNA to close on the $40 million contract that HNA says ZVG defaulted on in 2020.

At the heart of the issue, ZVG claims that HNA sabotaged the sale in 2019 by refusing access to the property when ZVG’s financing depended on an updated appraisal. ZVG claims that HNA’s interference with the contract caused ZVG’s default, and the HNA should not benefit from its own wrongdoing.

HNA asked the Court to dismiss the case back in July, saying that ZVG had several chances to close, was given several extensions and ultimately couldn’t come up with the money to buy the property. In addition to receiving several extensions, ZVG also sought bankruptcy protection in the Eastern District of New York, where the bankruptcy court gave ZVG additional time, and then ultimately allowed HNA to terminate the contract for non-performance.

ZVG’s arguments also allege that the contract for sale was never actually terminated and that the parties continued to negotiate on the original terms, even after the bankruptcy proceedings. ZVG stands ready to close on the $40 million dollar purchase.

According to sources, HNA is currently negotiating a new contract with Reveil, LLC, the entity chosen by the Town of Orangetown to redevelop the facility on Route 9W with an updated hotel, restaurants, a spa, and a plan to convert the conference center into production studios. In the meantime, the property sits idle, and judgments for unpaid utilities and other services have been secured against HNA.


Lawsuit Filed Against Pearl River Chamber of Commerce And Its President By Former Director Dismissed; New Lawsuits Filed Against Chamber’s Lawyer and Auditor

In February of this year, RCBJ reported that Pearl River Chamber of Commerce and its president Susan Perzigian were sued in Rockland County Supreme Court based on a raft of allegations of impropriety that caused former Chamber director Lisa Williams aka Lisa Leote to incur extensive legal fees and other damages defending herself against allegations of defamation by the Chamber’s former treasurer.

Leote alleged numerous claims, including breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of process, civil conspiracy and fraud.

In an order entered at the end of August, Judge Paul Marx dismissed all of Leote’s claims, stating that she either lacked standing to bring some of the claims or waited too long to file them. According to the Order, the only viable claim filed by Leote – that the Chamber may have wrongly failed to provide for her defense – was filed beyond the four-month period required under New York law. Marx said that claims challenging the corporate governance decisions of non-profits are subject to a four-month filing requirement. Leote filed her suit just days outside the four-month window.

But, the litigation isn’t over. Leote filed a Notice of Appeal on September 1st. She also filed two new lawsuits in Rockland County Supreme Court – one against the Chamber’s auditor James Deminno and his accounting firm for professional malpractice, and another against former Treasurer Michelle Worob and her attorney Brian Condon for malicious prosecution. Stay tuned.