The Legal Beat

Legal Beat: Vitane Pharmaceuticals Facing A Flurry of Lawsuits Including Foreclosure On Its Congers Building; Chartwell Sues Contractor Over Decimal Measurements

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M&T Bank Seeks To Foreclose Against the Property at 125 Wells Avenue In Congers; Other Suits Pending

Congers-based Vitane Pharmaceuticals, Vitane Realty (its real estate arm) and its principal Mohammed Hassan, are facing a series of lawsuits seeking to foreclose on the property at 125 Wells Avenue in the Brenner Corporate Park in Congers.

The complaint, filed by M&T Bank in Rockland County Supreme Court alleges Vitane defaulted on a 2016 mortgage loan. The balance due, according to the complaint is about $1.2 million, plus continuing interest on the underlying loan. The complaint charges the mortgage loan was secured by the real estate and that both Vitane and its principal Hassan guaranteed the debt obligation.

M&T has asked for a referee to be appointed to facilitate the sale of the property to satisfy the debt, with any deficiency judgment charged to Vitane and Hassan.

Vitane bought the one-story, 17,269 square-foot building at 125 Wells Avenue in Congers’ 60-acre industrial area known as Brenner Corporate Park in 2011 for $1.95 million. At the time, it received a series of benefits from the Rockland Industrial Development Agency (IDA) under a ten-year agreement that was terminated early in 2017.

According to its website, Vitane is a “US based pharmaceutical company with strong determination to impart quality life to people, by offering nutrient based innovative health products.”

Vitane’s legal troubles started late last year. TD Bank filed suit against Vitane and Hassan last December charging that Vitane and Hassan defaulted on a $500,000 line of credit that it opened in July of 2019. TD Bank’s complaint also charges that Vitane similarly defaulted on a term loan agreement executed in July of 2019 for an additional $320,000 (which was later modified after COVID to about $204,000).

TD Banks complaint alleged that Vitane and Hassan were indebted to the bank in the amount of about $600,000. TD Bank also sought to collect on the collateral – fixtures, inventory and other assets.

Other vendors, contractors, and judgment holders also have filed claims against Vitane or are claiming a priority over the defaulted loan plaintiffs, including Pharma Technology, Delfin Industrial, Joe Lombardo Plumbing and Heating, and Atzl, Nasher & Zigler.

In 2019, Vitane sought and received a series of zoning variances and ultimately planning board approval from the Town of Clarkstown to expand its facility on Wells Avenue to double its then existing size. The expansion, opposed by residents adjacent to the Brenner Industrial Park, would have increased Vitane’s building to 35,000 square feet. The expansion was never completed.

At that time, Vitane said it spent more than $4 million to buy the building, and another $1 million to renovate and qualify the building for FDA regulations. Plans for the expansion included distribution to the domestic market.  The company said it would grow its workforce from 50 to 70, and that new jobs created would include manufacturing operators, warehouse and lab technicians.

Chartwell Sues Contractor For Refusal To Convert To Decimal Measurements

We’ve all heard the expression: Mind your Ps and Qs. But what about inches and decimals, and how a dispute over measuring in decimals versus feet and inches ends up in court?

Congers-based Chartwell Pharmaceuticals has been expanding its operations in Rockland County and has acquired several new buildings in and around its headquarters at 77 Brenner Drive.

New Jersey Iron provides structural steel fabrication and erection services, and in June of 2022, according to a complaint filed in Rockland County Supreme Court by Chartwell against New Jersey Iron (NJI), Chartwell retained NJI to provide structural steel for its expansion project. The contract was valued at over $2 million.

Here’s where the dispute happened: According to Chartwell, shop drawings were to be based on decimals, not feet and inches. For example, if an elevation measured 10 feet, 9 inches, it should read 10.75 feet, not 10’, 9”.

Chartwell says NJI refused to provide decimal measurements, and from there things spiraled out of control, with engineers getting involved, and conflicting accounts of the engineers’ positions. The dispute degenerated into “ugly outbursts, tirades, and profanities, dressed up by less than racial slurs toward one of Chartwell’s employees and antisemitic tropes toward Chartwell’s owner,” according to the complaint.

The dispute ground work to a halt for two months, costing Chartwell over $46,000 in additional compensation to its project managers, as well as an additional $45,000 for a replacement steel contractor to rework the drawings.

Chartwell is claiming $91,331 in damages against NJI, plus attorney’s fees and costs.

In October of last year, New Jersey Iron filed a lien against Chartwell’s property at 77 Brenner Drive in Congers in the amount of $22,680.

Chartwell’s suit also seeks to clear the lien, which it says was wrongfully filed.