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Builders sue Bethpage Federal on construction loan

Bethpage Federal Credit Union chief executive Kirk Kordeleski.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union chief executive Kirk Kordeleski. Credit: Michael Ach, 2010

The builders of a 55-and-over complex in Port Jefferson are suing Bethpage Federal Credit Union, claiming the bank reneged on a construction loan last year, which caused construction delays and extra costs.

Liberty Meadows Llc, whose principals are partners Demetrius  Tsunis and Enrico Scarda of the Northwind Group of Hauppauge, filed the suit Wednesday in State Supreme Court, Riverhead, according to Liberty attorney Steven G. Pinks of Hauppauge. The suit seeks a total of $38.4 million in damages.

The complaint says the men bought 17.6 acres of property in Port Jefferson for $8.2 million in 2007 and later that year bought another nine tenths of an acre adjacent to it for another $400,000, planning to build 43 town-house condos.

The suit says that in April of 2010 Bethpage Federal Credit Union offered to lend the builders up to $15 million for the development, $4 million of which was to be for land purchase and the balance to be advanced after the builders constructed model units. The two men accepted, the suit says, and, shortly thereafter, Bethpage provided the first $4 million.

The suit says the builders then spent $1.5 million for site preparation and model and common area construction.

But, the suit alleges, Bethpage “unilaterally” reduced the loan agreement in October of 2010, to $10,050,000, including the $4 million for the land purchase. The builders accepted that, the suit says but, in November of 2011 Bethpage told the builders it wouldn’t provide any more funds. The builders obtained financing elsewhere and repaid Bethpage the $4 million, the suit says.

“Solely as a result of [Bethpage’s] refusal to fund the senior citizen project, plaintiffs’ development of [it] was stalled for a period in excess of 15 months,” the suit alleges. The suit also claims that the builders were unable to make timely payments to subcontractors and materials suppliers and the stalling of construction forced the builders to reduce prices and add amenities to sell the units.

Tsunis said Wednesday that the units are priced between $800,000 and $900,000 and are about 50 percent sold out.

In a statement Wednesday, Bethpage Federal chief executive Kirk Kordeleski said it had not been formally notified about the suit and believed it “without merit.” He added, “Like any prudent commercial lender, we engage in a comprehensive analysis before making a loan and decided not to move forward with this one.”

Photo: Bethpage Federal Credit Union chief executive Kirk Kordeleski


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