Riverhead Town officials announced Monday in a news release that the town will deal with a new point person for the venture company in the $40 million sale of the Enterprise Park at Calverton in the wake of revelations regarding a lawsuit.
Stuart Bienenstock, the Triple Five Group's director of business development, was found to have forged documents and committed real estate fraud in New Jersey, according to court records from the case that was argued on appeal in April 2018. The lower court ruling was upheld in a Jan. 8 decision, including a $1.3 million judgment against Bienenstock, his business partner, Judah Bloch and their company, Union Avenue Holding.
Triple Five has agreed to replace Bienenstock at the request of Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith.
“After this ruling came to light it would have been difficult for the Town to work with Mr. Beinenstock," Jens-Smith said in the news release. "I communicated to Triple Five that this would not be acceptable, and as a show of good faith to Riverhead they have agreed to replace him on the project.”
The lawsuit arose from the $1.4 million sale in 2012 of an apartment building owned by Union Avenue Holding.
Bienenstock and Bloch presented a document featuring a forged discharge of the property’s $1.1 million mortgage during the closing on the property, according to a ruling in the civil case filed in New Jersey Superior Court.
Bienenstock denied bringing the document to the closing, according to court filings.
Judge Stephanie Ann Mitterhoff ruled in 2016 that Bienenstock knew the mortgage would not be discharged before the closing on the property and found it "highly likely that Bienenstock forged the document himself, based on his own admission that some of the handwriting on the discharge looked remarkably similar to his own."
Bienenstock, who according to his LinkedIn profile was not a Triple Five employee at the time of the real estate transaction in New Jersey, was not criminally charged in the matter.
A man who answered Bienenstock’s cellphone Tuesday said he was not available to comment and referred questions to Triple Five Group’s communications office. A Triple Five representative could not be reached for comment.
Triple Five has confirmed that Amy Herbold has been named the company's new director of development and point person on the EPCAL project.
“I told Triple Five that our residents need to be able to trust those handling this sale, and through this gesture it seems they understand," Jens-Smith said. "I look forward to working with Ms. Herbold in order to deliver on their promises for EPCAL.”