MIAMI, Fla. – A team of lawyers, including Waldman Barnett’s Glen Waldman and Jason Gordon, have convinced Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal to take a second look at a trial court ruling that had rejected their client MP, LLC’s claim that TD Bank shut them out of their investment into a profitable Hialeah warehouse park. This latest ruling, highlighted by Law360, clears the way for MP, LLC, to revive its civil conspiracy and racketeering claims against TD Bank, the last remaining defendants in a multi-count multi-party lawsuit brought by the Waldman team. Claims against all of the other Defendants were previously settled.
The charges stem from 2010 when TD Bank was purchasing Mercantile Bank. The suit alleges that in an effort to boost Mercantile’s loan portfolio to make it more attractive to be purchased by TD Bank, Mercantile conspired with four of MP’s co-investors to use Palmetto Gardens Industrial Park’s income as collateral for other nonperforming loans held by the investors of other warehouse parks, which were the largest loans in its Florida portfolio. In order to do so, documents were forged to make it appear MP was not a member of the LLC, even though all parties, including Mercantile, were aware of its existence. MP further alleges that after the suit was filed, TD conspired to manufacture a technical default of the loans to execute a short sale at a below-market price (when other higher offers were made). The agreement included forgiveness of the other partners’ substantial personal guarantees. As a result, the short sale was executed and MP’s multimillion-dollar minority interest evaporated with the sale.
With the Appeals Court latest ruling, which reverses its December 2016 decision affirming the dismissal of the claims by MP, the court said the facts alleged by plaintiff MP, LLC, are “more than sufficient to withstand dismissal” and ordered the trial court to revive the suit.
“We’re pleased the Third District took another look at the facts of this case,” Waldman said. “Our client deserves the chance to pursue substantial damages, including its RICO claim, and potentially punitive damages against the bank due to what we believe were unsavory practices. We look forward to a trial on the merits of these claims in court.”