A Pelham Manor couple is trying to stop a Thornwood contractor from avoiding a $343,215 Superstorm Sandy debt.
Gregory J. Blasi and Anne Kossowan Blasi sued Roy A. Howard in federal bankruptcy court Dec. 9 to stop the court from discharging a 2013 judgment over work by his RH Contracting Enterprises Inc.
The debt may not be dismissed, the Blasis argue, because it was “obtained by false pretenses, a false representation or actual fraud.”
Howard did not respond to an email asking for his side of the story.
He filed for Chapter 13 protection in September, declaring $972,106 in assets, consisting mostly of his house in Thornwood, and $1,569,396 in liabilities.
He listed an 83% interest in RH Contracting Enterprises, Hawthorne, but shows the company as ceasing to operate in 2017. He owns all of RH Property Management & Consulting Inc., still active and operating at the same Hawthorne address.
Debts include $315,841 to the Blasis, $586,036 to a mortgage company, $217,419 to the IRS that he disputes, and $132,947 to TD Bank, about half of which he disputes.
Chapter 13 allows debtors to eliminate some debts while making monthly payments through a trustee to approved creditors.
Howard has proposed paying $2,500 a month for five years, totaling $150,000, as well as making monthly payments to the mortgage company and TD Bank for unspecified periods. The Blasis’ debt is not scheduled for payments.
The couple objected to the plan last month and filed an adversary proceeding last week.
They had hired RH Contracting in 2013 to repair their property on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
RH Contracting sued the couple for breach of contract in New Jersey Superior Court, Ocean County, for allegedly not paying $23,481 for $88,481 in repairs.
The Blasis filed a counterclaim alleging consumer fraud, negligence and breach of contract, and demanded $750,000. They alleged that Howard was not licensed or registered in New Jersey and that the work was poorly done.
The couple won a default judgment for $315,126 plus interest in 2015, against RH Contracting and Howard individually.
The judgment was filed in Westchester Supreme Court. Howard tried to stop the award, according to the Blasis, but judges in both states ruled that it could be enforced.
Now the Blasis argue that the debt may not be discharged in bankruptcy court because it was allegedly obtained by fraud or embezzlement or larceny, willful and malicious injury, and false pretenses or false representation.
Gregory Blasi, a lawyer, is representing the couple. Howard’s bankruptcy attorney is Dana P. Brescia, of Alter & Brescia LLP, Harrison.