Rockland developer Larry B. Weinstein is trying to protect his most valuable asset, a partially built commercial building in Spring Valley, so he can salvage or sell it.
Weinstein cited pending litigation and an “all-out effort” to protect all of his properties in a Chapter 11 petition filed Sept. 18 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by Post Office Square LLC.
Post Office Square, at Main and Church streets, has been a center of controversy for several years.
Spring Valley agreed in 2009 to deed the blighted property to Weinstein as part of an urban renewal plan. Work was to begin immediately, according to the deal, and to be completed in two years.
The village deeded the parcel in January 2013, and six months later, according to court records, he applied for a building permit for a 3-story commercial building.
Spring Valley sued Weinstein in 2018 to get the property back. The village argued that he had violated the agreement by not starting work immediately, failing to finish in two years and leaving an incomplete structure that is a “blight on the community.”
Weinstein countered that he had spent $2.5 million on the project and that the building needed only $350,000 in work to finish.
Justice Paul I. Marx of Rockland Supreme Court ruled on Aug. 12 that the Post Office Square property had to be conveyed back to the village.
Weinstein appealed the ruling last month and then petitioned for bankruptcy protection.
Post Office Square is also at the center of a personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition Weinstein filed last year, in which he attributed his financial problems to a “period of time when my health failed.”
He had suffered a stroke, followed by a heart attack and long-term rehabilitation, he stated in an affidavit.
“I was literally out of commission for three years and have been unable to recover since,” he states in the affidavit. He claims that the village was frustrating his ability to complete Post Office Square, “to force a default, with the end goal of taking the partially improved property without compensation.”
His assets consisted of homes in Airmont and Lake Worth Florida, two houses in Spring Valley rented out as apartments, vacant land upstate and “my most valuable asset, Post Office Square LLC.”
He declared assets of nearly $4.4 million and liabilities of $4.3 million. Claims filed in the case, however, total nearly $14.6 million, including $5.9 million asserted by the state Workers’ Compensation Board, more than $1 million in income taxes by the IRS, $344,130 in state taxes and $236,811 by Rockland County.
Weinstein wants to consolidate his personal bankruptcy with the Post Office Square case, he states in the affidavit, “as the major focus in both cases is the very same commercial property.”
Post Office Square has not filed detailed financial schedules yet, but it declared from $1 million to $10 million in assets and liabilities. Its lists 13 unsecured debts totaling more than $4.7 million, characterizing all as disputed, except for $4 million to Weinstein himself.
His intention, he states in the affidavit, is to rehabilitate his properties or sell them.
Chestnut Ridge attorney Harvey S. Barr represents Weinstein and Post Office Square.