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Meadowlands Development commercial building mired in litigation

Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Grossman ends New Jersey Foreclosure Case
Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Grossman ends New Jersey Foreclosure Case
Dan Harris

In the shadows of the Meadowlands Sports Complex sits a 39,000 square foot TV broadcasting and production facility, formerly the home of Univision. The building is equipped with a hard line cable to the Empire State Building to enable the use of antenna atop the 1454ft tall building.

This week in a decision sure to be cited as case law for years to come, Judge Robert E. Grossman issued a ruling ending a foreclosure action brought by an investor involved in litigation surrounding the circumstances leading up to the purchase of the note and mortgage on the Meadowlands Development Broadcast Center.

In litigation filed in a Manhattan Court by attorney Brian McCaffrey, the owner of the property accused the investor Prime Properties USA 2011 and the CEO of Prime, Henry Weinstein as well as some of his associates, of conversion, breach of contract, tortuous interference with a contract, theft of economic advantage and more.

On Friday April 25, 2014, I interviewed Mr. McCaffrey who said that the foreclosure action should have never been commenced, and believed that it not only violated the bankruptcy laws but was a thinly veiled attempt at a contravention of an agreement between the parties in a hearing before the Honorable Jugdge Eileen Bransten on October 22, 2013.

As a result of the downturn in real estate market and the battle over the purchase of the note and mortgage the owner of Meadowlands Development had to resort to an individual bankruptcy to protect himself from an onslaught of corporate creditors seeking redress against him personally.

After the individual bankruptcy was filed, in what appeared to be a retaliatory action, Prime filed a foreclosure action seeking a judgment in New Jersey naming the debtor and his wholly owned corporation.

Brian McCaffrey attorney for the debtor immediately filed a motion in the Bankruptcy Court to have the foreclosure action declared a violation of the automatic stay and as such void. Andrew Freidman of Freidman Sanchez represented Prime in defense of the action and argued that the automatic stay only applied to the debtor and asked Judge Grossman to rule the foreclosure action void as to the debtor only.

McCaffrey argued that because the foreclosure action was commenced naming the debtor after the bankruptcy petition was filed it was clear that the foreclosure action was a violation of the automatic stay and void ab initio, a Latin term meaning ‘void from the outset’.

Judge Grossman agreed with McCaffrey and issued an unequivocal order declaring that the action was commenced in violation of the automatic stay and ordered Prime to immediately discontinue the New Jersey foreclosure action.

McCaffrey has made his name as a no nonsense litigator in defense of consumers rights in foreclosures, bankruptcies and a host of other litigation matters

The Bankruptcy Case is filed in the Southern District of New York under Case # 13-13588-RG, The New York conversion action is filed in the New York Supreme Court, New York County under Index # 653632/2013, and the New Jersey Foreclosure action is filed n in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division of Hudson County under Docket No. F-045436-13