Reprint from CTBLUE
Quality Journalism this morning at the Day. Yes, I know I don't say that often, but you have to give the devil its due.
I refer to this morning's article, One Small Lot, One Big Mess, about Joe Gentile, the Utopia developer and involved in CT's Hollywood East. The story involves a scam in which he's involved in New York, where he is apparently using some fairly complicated legal shenanigans to bilk some "partners" out of their share of a real estate deal. One device he's using is a mechanic's lien filed on the property by a construction company, with whom he's apparently in league. By foreclosing on the lien he can wrest ownership of the real estate from his minority partners. It's a fairly complicated deal, but it seems clear from the story that Gentile is a slippery guy, and one whom it would be wise to keep under close surveillance, assuming you have the misfortune of getting involved with the guy.
He does it by doing business through various corporations, each of which appears to be set up to handle only one phase of the transaction. Besides making it difficult to prove the elements of the scheme, the tangle of corporations provide at least a first line of defense for Gentile. It is not easy to establish the personal liability of a guy who surrounds himself with corporations.
The Day's story gives us at least a glimmer of insight into the nature of the scam Gentile is pulling in Preston:
Gentile said the lawsuits will prove him right, and once that happens, he will do what he always does: Finish the job.
“The ironic part of this whole thing is, I became a huge winner,” he said. “West 23rd Street is the hottest block in New York City. I'm in a good place, and I have a lot of options.”
Those options, he said, include selling the property at a significant profit or going ahead with a condo complex.
“Am I wrong because I'm smart and it worked out for me?” he said. “Maybe God was looking down on me for doing the right thing.”
The best speculation I've ever heard about Gentile posits that once he gets his legal hands on the property he will use his newly acquired legal position to enable him to back out of his grandiose committments and take a profit out of the property and run. That appears to be what he is set to do in New York: steal someone else's property, milk as much money out of the project as he can, and then turn it over for a huge profit.