Thursday, January 31, 2013
Swindled in LIC
From The Real Deal:
A would-be real estate developer stands accused of convincing the owners of a Long Island City taxi lot to invest millions in a development he never built, instead allegedly lavishing the funds on his personal expenses. The developer, Brent Carrier, was previously the president of Vernon Realty, a Long Island City-based development company, according to the site for Carrier’s current business, Laguna Beach-Calif.-based Laguna Pacific Development.
Carrier first approached Richard Wissak and Jerry Nazari, who own a garage down the street from the land they hoped to develop, in 2011, saying he had a tip on “the deal of the century,” according to a complaint they filed in July in New York State Supreme Court in Queens County.
Carrier relentlessly pursued the pair of prospective investors, saying he could take their capital and his supposed expertise in real estate development to redevelop the site, the lawsuit claims. Carrier allegedly said the group could buy the lot, at 45-40 Vernon Boulevard, at a steep discount, as the widow who owned the site wanted to be done with it.
Carrier claimed to have plans and relationships already in place to facilitate building a facility for the City University of New York on the site, the complaint says. He told the pair he had considerable experience dealing with sites like this one, a former paint factory in need of environmental remediation, the lawsuit alleges.
The website for Laguna Pacific states that Carrier’s “largest project [while] at Vernon Realty was the River East development in Long Island City, which Vernon Realty purchased for $24 million in 2004 and was placed under contract to sell for $183 million in 2006.”
A “Vernon Realty Holdings” bought the parcel at 44-02 Vernon Boulevard — where the River East condominiums were once slated to rise, according to published reports — for $26.1 million in 2003, city records show. Subsequent transfers of the property, the last of which was in 2009, show trades for $0 to an identically named limited liability company.
Alas, no development was built at the Vernon Boulevard site. Department of Buildings records show no permits, issued or in process, for construction at the address.