The death of a longtime business partner and friend has led to deadlock with the heirs of a small Bronx motel.
Mitchell Suss of Hartsdale petitioned Westchester Supreme Court on March 2 to dissolve Bronx Park Motel Corp.
He accused Edward J. Walsh Jr. of Mahopac, Christopher Walsh of Katonah and Tracy Walsh of Yorktown Heights of “nothing short of a hostile takeover.”
They are the children of Eddie Walsh, Suss’ partner and co-equal owner for 25 years.
Bronx Park Motel – rated one star out of five by Yelp – is a 46-room lodge on Crotona Avenue at Fordham Road, adjacent to the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden and near the Italian markets of Arthur Avenue.
Forty-four years ago, Suss began working at the motel as a night clerk. He met Eddie – Edward Joseph Walsh – in the early 1980s when Walsh was a New York police officer assigned to patrol the neighborhood.
They became good friends, according to the petition, and in 1990, when the motel owner became ill, they acquired a half interest in the business. Suss claims he enabled Eddie to participate in the deal by arranging a $100,000 interest-free loan.
In 1994, they bought the other half of the business. They each owned 50% of the stock. Suss served as president and Eddie as the corporate secretary, the petition states, and they managed the motel collaboratively.
In 2018, Bronx Park Motel had revenues of nearly $2.6 million.
The business got $210,000 a month from the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs to provide housing for the homeless, and took in cash from renting 12 rooms that were not part of the contract.
Eddie died last year and his half of the business went to his children.
Almost immediately, the petition states, Suss’ relationship with the children deteriorated.
He claims that the corporate records and checkbook were removed from the motel office, without his consent. The heirs allegedly blocked a plan to refinance a high-interest mortgage, delayed signing a new contract for homeless services, and delayed depositing $204,000, causing checks to bounce and jeopardizing the payroll. Cash transactions of about $7,000 to $8,000 a month are allegedly unaccounted for.
Suss claims that the Walshes’ actions were tactics to deprive him of his share of the distributions and to pressure him into selling or ceding control of the business.
“Dissension and acrimony,” the petition states, “have made it impossible for the parties to agree on a strategy for operating the business.”
There is no possibility of electing a new board of directors, according to the petition, and no mechanism for breaking the deadlock.
The factional bitterness is so great, the petition states, “that dissolution would be beneficial to the shareholders.”
Suss is asking the court to appoint a receiver to run the motel and wind down operations. He also accuses the heirs of diverting cash. He is demanding an accounting of the motel’s finances.
A motel clerk said in a brief telephone conversation that the Walshes were not available to discuss their side of the story.
Suss is represented by White Plains attorney Peter S. Dawson.