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The Laurita Bankruptcy – Signature Apparel LLC Was Drained of Its Funds and Assets to Support the Laurita’s Opulent Lifestyle

October 26, 2012 152 comments

“Everyone likes to have nice things, but I’m not one to brag about it.” – Jacqueline Laurita, RHONJ Season 1 & 2 Tagline

“I had heard that Joe was saying things that discredit my reputation as a businessman. I was furious, because if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s shady.” – Chris Laurita, Season 4 Episode

UPDATE 8/2/2014: The trial in the adversarial proceedings against the Lauritas, with Signature Apparel as the plaintiff, is scheduled for November 13, 2014. To delay the trial, the Laurita’s attorneys submitted notices to the court on July 16, 2014, requesting to withdraw as counsel in their four-year representation of the Lauritas on the basis of their failure to pay legal fees. The court granted the request. The Laurita Adversary Proceeding and the Laurita/Iconix Adversary Proceeding each have been pending for years, and the Withdrawal Notices came on the eve of scheduled summary judgment motions and trial in these matters. Signature Apparel objected to the withdrawal motions, stating:

“The Laurita Defendants pillaged Signature pre- and post-Petition, as will be demonstrated in the forthcoming proceedings, and they are well aware that the estate has limited resources. The proposed withdrawal of their counsel should not be an occasion for yet more delay and needless waste of Signature’s limited resources.

“Delay has been the Laurita Defendants’ primary defense tactic in these proceedings, and Signature is concerned that this latest and last gambit simply is more of the same. Withdrawal for failure to pay fees at this late stage in these matters, when Troutman Sanders clearly was aware of that issue for months, is ethically suspect at the least. Signature respectfully submits that, prior to the resolution of this issue, the Laurita Defendants should be required to provide information concerning who specifically intends to hire new counsel and what efforts he or she will undertake to minimize any further delay of the dispositive motion practice and proceedings in these matters.”

Jacqueline Laurita in her final Bravo blog for season 4 said:

“I know I said during the reunion that I wished Joe Giudice would go to jail, but regardless of if I think he deserves it or not, I will not wish anything bad for Teresa or Joe. They have 4 beautiful girls, and if anything unfortunate happens to either one of them, it effects those girls, and as a mother I do not want that.”

Jacqueline Laurita is implying that Joe Giudice deserves to go to jail — does she feel the same way about herself, her husband and other Laurita family members? Chris Laurita and his brother Joseph diverted funds from their company (Signature Apparel LLC, which went bankrupt in 2010) for personal expenses and transferred company funds to family members and other family businesses, draining the company so dry that it was an empty shell and creditors couldn’t be paid.

Jacqueline, who is named as a defendant in the bankruptcy case, had been summoned for a deposition on November 13, 2012. The trustee’s attorney Michael Fox told RumorFix on October 25, 2012:

“It frustrates me that they are so public about their lavish lifestyle and they show indifference.”

Signature requested to extend the deadlines: for fact discovery and depositions to January 18, 2013, reply expert reports to April 16, 2013, and expert discovery and depositions to May 22, 2013.

“Here’s how the Laurita bankruptcy contrasts to the Guidice bankruptcy: Teresa and Joe were making big bucks but spent ALL of their money, and had no savings. So when the real estate crash happened, they were in no way prepared for the massive decrease in income both personally and for Joe’s business. Obviously, they had no choice but to file bankruptcy, which initially was completely legitimate. Should they have been wiser with their money when times were good? Yes, but this a free country and they’re free do what they want (legally). Luckily, Teresa was able to start making more money than ever had before, and they are now better off as they have withdrawn their bankruptcy and are living more modestly and paying down their debts. While there were problems with fraud later on in their bankruptcy filing (which I believe were resolved, possibly allowing them to file again if they wanted to), it is better for everyone that they are committing to paying instead of trying to discharge their debt. I would label Teresa and Joe as just stupid with money and victims of the economy. The Lauritas are criminals.” – CenNJ, October 26, 2012, Fame-Whorgas

On March 14, 2013, arguments were scheduled to be heard for all motions in the federal bankruptcy case against the Lauritas:

Until these motions are settled, all depositions have been suspended. However, the discovery part, both fact and expert, is ongoing. More than likely, Jacqueline will not have to appear, and it is doubtful Bravo will film it. This is preliminary until all evidence is gathered and examined. Once completed, then it will be decided whether charges are to be filed. But there certainly appears to be a mountain of evidence, so the Lauritas definitely have a lot on their plate right now between the hearings, the tax lien, the possible foreclosure, and Jacqueline’s plastic surgery bills. – Jeannie5233, March 13, 2013, Fame-Whorgas

According to legal documents dated March 24, 2011 (one of the main points is that creditors forced a bankruptcy, supposedly before the Lauritas could sell a valuable license, yet they went ahead and sold it anyway – click on the link and see pages 5, 6 and 25):

Chris and Joseph failed to respect the separate legal existence of Signature Apparel LLC and the other Laurita companies [including Pyramid Trading, Inc., Pyramid Trading Corp., Retail Solutions, Four Brothers Retail and Cool Five LLC (collectively referred to as the "Laurita Pyramid Companies" ), or to companies or business ventures in which Chris and Joseph were investing, including Angelo's Favorite, The Hungry Ghosts Movie LLC, and the BSTC Group], and treated the assets of those companies as if those assets were Chris and Joseph’s own personal assets, including, by way of example:

  1. Using Signature funds to pay the personal expense of the other Laurita family members,
  2. Causing the diverted funds to be conveyed away from Signature to Pyramid Trading Inc. (another Laurita company),
  3. Making other fraudulent transfers to other Laurita companies, and
  4. Conveying the Rocawear and Artful Dodger Licenses to a third party while retaining for themselves a percentage of the gross fees received from those licenses.

Utilizing their position in Signature and the Laurita Pyramid Companies, Chris and Joseph, in concert with one another, have wrongfully utilized and depleted the corporate assets of Signature to further their own individual financial interests, in total disregard of the interests of Signature.

  • From 9/5/2008 – 8/18/2009, within a year prior to the petition date, Joseph Laurita received a total of $873,689 in transfers of interests in Signature’s property.
  • From 9/5/2008 – 8/14/2009, within a year prior to the petition date, Christopher Laurita received a total of $405,730 in transfers of interests in Signature’s property.

Chris and Joseph, in concert with one another, have wrongfully siphoned corporate funds from Signature which resulted in Signature becoming grossly undercapitalized to the point of financial extinction, while amassing personal assets for themselves and their family members.

To this day, Chris and Joseph, while claiming the financial crises of Signature, still drive luxurious vehicles, own buildings and residences and have assets which may be worth millions of dollars.

Signature was so controlled and dominated by Chris and Joseph, and its separate legal existence so ignored, that Signature primarily transacted the personal business of Chris and Joseph, and is therefore a mere instrumentality and the alter ego of Chris and Joseph.

Such control and domination has been exercised to commit fraud and engage in other wrongful conduct, which has resulted in an unjust financial loss and injury to Plaintiff.

As a matter of equity, the Plaintiff (Signature Apparel LLC) is entitled to pierce the corporate veil of the other Laurita companies, and to reach the assets of Chris and Joseph, jointly and severally, to satisfy any judgment obtained in this litigation.

Joseph Laurita and Christopher Laurita, defendants in the case and each 50% owner/member of Signature Apparel LLC (which was formed in 2005), are accused of:

  • Draining the company of all its funds and assets in order to support their families’ increasingly opulent lifestyle of private jets, limousines, extravagant parties, premium automobiles, designer clothing, ostentatious home furnishings and lavish vacations.
  • Using company funds for their own personal expenses, and making payments to themselves and their family members from company funds for amounts not owed to them by Signature.

Also named as defendants in the case are Jacqueline Laurita, Adeline Laurita (Joseph’s wife), and Anthony Laurita (Chris and Joseph’s brother).

  • Chris and Joseph directed Signature to pay the expenses of and make payments to other companies owned, controlled by or affiliated with Chris Laurita and Joseph Laurita.
  • Chris and Joseph improperly directed Signature’s vendors, including certain of the petitioning creditors, to make payments to certain of the Laurita’s other companies of funds that were rightfully owed to Signature. Those payments totaled at least and no less than $718,214, and further depleted Signature’s assets.
  • Chris and Joseph directed Signature to pay the personal expenses of, and make outright payments to the other Laurita family members (Jacqueline and other family members accepted funds they knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value). These payments totaled at least and no less than $7,086,013 (the “Fraudulent Transfers”). These improper payments have no legitimate business purpose, provided no value to Signature, and include:

* At least $1,994,845 for payments to 40 different credit cards for Laurita family members and the Laurita’s other companies
* At least $331,637 for payments on no less than eleven leased cars, including a Bentley and a Maserati
* At least $284,793 in airline travel expenses for the Laurita Family
* At least $145,894 for private airplane rentals for the Laurita Family
* At least $25,000 to Studio Dante, and off-Broadway theater company, for production expenses for the film ‘The Hungry Ghosts’
* At least $73,793 for taxi, limousine and car-service related expenses
* At least $16,951 for car rentals
* At least $5,813 in travel tolls
* At least $6,207 in car insurance premiums
* At least $28,711 for miscellaneous transportation-related expenses
* At least $7,280 for travel agent expenses for the Laurita Family
* At least $1,084 for train travel expenses
* At least $1,379,187 to Joseph Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $755,184 to Christopher Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $62,500 to Adeline Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $40,000 to Anthony Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $20,909 to Frank Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $4,860 for rent and utility expenses for 78 Valley Road in Connecticut, the site for Pyramid Trading (another Laurita company)
* At least $325,696 in payments to or on behalf of other entities owned or controlled the Lauritas
* At least $791,509 in payments to Roc Apparel Group LLC for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
* At least $784,160 of disbursements to unknown recipients, without any documentation whatsoever

These fraudulent transfers were made voluntarily with the actual intent to hinder, delay or defraud some or all of Signature’s then existing and/or future creditors (including, without limitation, the Petitioning Creditors — Signature Apparel, the plaintiff, will further amend the Complaint when additional information is obtained concerning other monies and property that were fraudulently transferred by or for the benefit of the Laurita family, the defendants, and Laurita Pyramid Companies).

Instead of being used to sustain and develop Signature’s business, pay Signature’s vendors and creditors, Signature’s assets were misused to make outright and unjustified payments to Laurita family members, and to fund the operations of the Laurita brothers’ other companies and business ventures. That diversion of funds constituted a waste of corporate assets and opportunities.

Chris and Joseph wrongfully caused Signature to make outright payments and other transfers to themselves, other Laurita family members, other Laurita companies, and to other companies and business ventures in which Chris and Joseph were investing. After Signature’s bankruptcy, Chris and Joseph conveyed the Licenses away from Signature while retaining for themselves a percentage of gross fees from the licenses, further damaging Signature and effectively rendering the Company an empty shell with no means to pay its creditors. This conduct caused the funds and property of Signature to be squandered, grossly mismanaged and wasted, and contributed to, exacerbated, deepened and/or caused Signature’s insolvency.

  • Chris and Joseph breached their fiduciary duties by using Company funds for the payment of their own personal expenses and the personal expenses of other Laurita family members. Signature was damaged in an amount to be determined, but believed to be not less than $7,086,013 plus interest.
  • Chris and Joseph breached their fiduciary duties by coordinating the transfer of the Rocawear License and the Artful Dodger Licenses to a third-party, as a new license, while retaining for themselves, rather than Signature, a percentage of the gross fees from the Licenses. As a direct and proximate result, Signature was damaged in an amount to be determined, but believed to be not less than $718,214 plus interest. That transfer provided Chris and Joseph with continuing income from the Rocawear and Artful Dodger Licenses, while reducing Signature to an empty shell with little or no means to pay its debts or continue its business.

Signature had a possessory right and interest to its assets, including its receipts, accounts receivable, property and general funds. Defendants converted Signature’s assets and property when they received monies in the form of payments and other wrongful transfers. Defendants actions deprived Signature of its use of its assets, and contributed to, exacerbated, deepened or caused Signature’s insolvency.

Signature and the other Laurita companies were grossly undercapitalized at their respective inception, and their respective assets were unreasonably small in proportion to their respective obligations.

Defendants Joseph Laurita and Christopher Laurita assert rights to payment allegedly owned by Signature. Pursuant to Bankruptcy Code section 502(d), the Joseph Laurita claim and the Christopher Laurita claim must each be disallowed unless and until such defendants pays Signature an amount equal to transfer made to such defendants that is avoided.

The actions of the defendants described in the Complaint, and as further to be proven upon discovery of additional facts, constitutes inequitable, unconscionable, and unfair conduct. Such inequitable, unconscionable, and unfair conduct of the defendants resulted in harm to Signature and its creditors and/or gave the defendants an unfair advantage over Signature’s other creditors.

  • Joseph Laurita asserts that Signature is indebted to him in the amount of $5,337,414 in connection to unsecured loans (the “Joseph Laurita Loans”) allegedly made by him to Signature, as described in the Joseph Laurita claim.
  • Christopher Laurita asserts that Signature is indebted to him in the amount of $3,387,414 in connection to unsecured loans (the “Christopher Laurita Loans”) allegedly made by him to Signature, as described in the Christopher Laurita claim.

The insider loans were each a sham, not true loans.

The insider loans represented the equity contributions of defendants Joseph and Christopher Laurita, each 50% owner/member of Signature. Neither Joseph nor Christopher are in the business of lending money, and there was no legitimate business reason for such Defendants to make such insider loans.

Although cast in the form of loans, the insider loans had the substance and character of an equity contribution: there were no arms’-length, good-faith commercial negotiation the terms of the insider loans; at all relevant times, Signature was not adequately capitalized to repay the insider loans; Signature had no ability to obtain comparable financing from a lending institution at the interest rate provided in the insider loans.

At all relevant times, Joseph and Christopher Laurita were insiders of Signature and exercised effective control over Signature. Through actual and effective control over Signature, overreaching and inequitable conduct, defendants Joseph and Christopher operated Signature in an undercapitalized, deceptive and unsound manner, to the detriment of Signature’s creditors.

If the insider loans are not recharacterized as equity, unsecured creditors will receive less than they otherwise would from monies recovered from defendants in this action and in other actions that have been or will be brought by or on behalf of Signature and its estate. Accordingly, the insider loans should be recharacterized as equity contributions in Signature.

Defendants Joseph Laurita and Christopher Laurita have filed the Joseph Laurita Claim and Christopher Laurita Claim (together, the “Proof of Claim”), respectively, in the bankruptcy proceeding. Defendants claims are not supported by the books and records of Signature, nor the materials annexed to the respective Proofs of Claim submitted by Defendants, and therefore should be allowed. As a result of the foregoing, Signature is entitled to an order disallowing the Claims.

About Signature Apparel LLC:

Signature was formed in 2005 by brothers Joseph and Christopher Laurita, as a privately-owned, multi-facted apparel company in the business of designing, manufacturing and distributing branded apparel worldwide. Joseph and Christopher Laurita each owned 50% percent of the Company.

In or about 2005, Signature entered into an exclusive license with a predecessor-in-interest of Iconix Brand Group, Inc. to design, manufacture and distribute junior’s apparel bearing the “Rocawear” trademarks, which license was assigned in or about 2007 to Studio IP Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Iconix.

In or about 2005, Signature entered into an exclusive license with a subsidiary of Iconix, Artful Holdings LLC, to design, manufacture and distribute apparel bearing the “Artful Dodger” trademarks.

In or about 2005, Signature designed, manufactured and distributed apparel pursuant to the Rocawear License and, beginning in or about 2007, Signature designed, manufactured and distributed apparel pursuant to the Artful Dodger License, and sold such apparel to Signature’s wholesale customers throughout the United States.

Signature achieved more than $250 million in sales from Rocawear and Artful Dodger branded apparel alone between 2005 and 2009.

About the Original Petition by Creditors and the Laurita Brother’s Claims:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
Case No. 09-15378 (JMP)
Chapter 11
Signature Apparel Group, LLC, Involuntary Debtor (Plaintiff)
Joseph Laurita, Christopher Laurita, Adeline Laurita, Anthony Laurita and Jacqueline Laurita (Defendants)

Creditors of Signature Apparel Group LLC, which owns the Fetish trademark and holds the licenses for Rocawear Juniors and Artful Dodger, are looking to push the company into bankruptcy protection, court filings showed. – Reuters, September 4, 2009

On September 4, 2009 (the “Petition Date”), Hitch & Trail Inc., Talful Ltd., and Harvestway (China) Limited (the “Petitioning Creditors”) filed an involuntary petition against Signature in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking relief under chapter 7 of title 1 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The three original petitioners in the bankruptcy case (other petitioners may have since been added) and the amount owed them:

  • Hitch & Trail, Inc., NY NY; $3,556,793.18 (September 3, 2009)
  • Talful Ltd, Hong Kong, China; owed $4,757,078,62 (September 3, 2009)
  • Harvestway (China) Limited, Hong Kong, China; owed $6,465,464.50 (September 2, 2009)

Secured claims vs. unsecured claims:

  • Class 1 Priority Non-Tax and Priority Tax Claim, scheduled claims $14,906.80 (CIT Group has since been paid in full)
  • General Unsecured Claims: $28,676,703.13 (the Complaint may have since been amended with more petitioning creditors)

On November 9, 2009, the debtor filed its motion to convert the case to a case under chapter 11, and on November 12, 2009 the court granted the motion to convert.

On June 29, 2010, a chapter 11 plan of reorganization was confirmed, and Anthony Labrosciano was named the responsible person of Signature Apparel LLC (he is representing Signature Apparel as the Plaintiff against the Defendants Christopher Laurita, Joseph Laurita, Anthony Laurita, Adeline Laurita and Jacqueline Laurita).

On August 5, 2010, Signature Apparel Group, LLC went out of business.

Affadavit of Joseph Laurita, chairman of Signature Apparel Group

My brother Christopher Laurita and I are the two member of the debtor, each owning a 50% membership interest in the debtor. The debtor is a privately owned multi-faceted apparel company that designs, develops, manufactures, distributes and sells branded apparel worldwide.

Christopher Laurita, Officer and President, 2003 – present
Joseph Laurita, Chairman, 2003 – present

On January 4, 2010, Joseph Laurita filed a general unsecured claim against Signature in the amount of $5,337,414 on account of purported loans made by Joseph to Signature.

On January 5, 2010, Christopher Laurita filed a general unsecured claim against Signature in the amount of $3,387,414 on account of purported loans made by Christopher to Signature.

http://ia700401.us.archive.org/23/items/gov.uscourts.nysb.185141/gov.uscourts.nysb.185141.36.0.pdf

A list of the 20 largest unsecured creditors is attached as Exhibit ‘A’.

http://ia700401.us.archive.org/23/items/gov.uscourts.nysb.185141/gov.uscourts.nysb.185141.124.0.pdf

Note: If you copy all or part of this article, please clearly credit and link back to Fame-Whorgas since it took considerable time and effort to type out this information from the PDF file and then edit it down (the Complaint is about 3 times the size of this article), format it, and re-organize it for readability.

UPDATES ON THE BANKRUPTCY CASE:

Jacqueline Laurita’s Personal Exposure and Signature Apparel’s Creditors list $55 Million in Claims (FRE)

Since the original complaint was filed (which I found online and included in this article), other creditors have come forward (but I don’t have access to the amended complaint). FRE (link above) has the updates on the case and the amount (which totals $55 million) creditors are claiming are owed to them by the Laurita brothers. Other creditors include:

  • Susan G Komen Cancer Foundation $18,000
  • Federal Express $14,300
  • American Express $$83,000
  • UPS $9,500
  • Ikon Financial $95,000
  • Artful Holdings, LLC $10,350,000
  • Studio IP Holdings, LLC $20,700,000
  • CitiGroup Commercial $200,000
  • Daihwa $456,000
  • Hitch & Trail, Inc. $3,699,000
  • Putnam Leasing $444,000
  • GiftTex: $96,000
  • Talful, LTD $4,750,000
  • Harvestway Ltd $5,051,000

Signature Apparel Computers & Server Recovered from Chris Laurita’s Possession (FRE)

Chris Laurita removed computers from the Signature Apparel offices. He claims the computers were removed so that the equipment could be used in his new business, New Star Group, LLC (the Company that promotes BLK). Chris disclosed that he was also in possession of a server originally belonging to Signature Apparel. The Memorandum of Law filed in support of the Motion painstakingly sets forth the number of times Chris Laurita, through counsel, insisted that all computers, hard drives, servers and electronic equipment remained at the Signature Apparel warehouse before Laurita finally admitted that he and his personal assistant absconded with the equipment.

Signature Apparel LLC vs. Joseph Laurita, Christopher Laurita, Adeline Laurita, Jacqueline Laurita and Anthony Laurita File, filed on January 21, 2011

Gorgas Extract $500,000 in Equity in a Cash-out Refinance of Their Overpriced Home for Sale

October 24, 2012 155 comments

Comments posted in a New York Post article published online in May 2011 about the Gorga’s not paying their bills:

“Hey Joe, you are the biggest a$$, pay us the money you owe us for installing your elevator!” – Stephen Ferrara, Asst. Sales Manager at Standard Elevator, July 18, 2011

“nice house I helped you build Pay me the money you owe me bigshot.” – Scott Roberts, student at University of South Carolina, June 27, 2011

On February 2, 2007, Joe Gorga purchased the lot at 8 Pond View Ct., Montville, NJ for $950,000 cash (which was profit from the 2006 sale of the first home Joe built — 149 Pulis Avenue, Franklin Lakes, NJ), and the deed was in his name only.

When he took out a construction loan on November 16, 2007, to build the mansion on the lot, he transferred the deed into both his and Melissa’s names (the interest rate on the loan was 9% and the loan was obtained by putting two properties up as collateral — 11 Mermaid Rd, Toms River and 489 Summer St. Paterson, NJ). This construction loan agreement on November 16, 2007 was for $2.25 million.

They modified the mortgage loan agreement beginning on July 1, 2009 (the mortgage note modification agreement lists their address as 35 Gravel Hill Road, Kinnelon NJ), converting the loan to a three year term period with 6.25% rate and monthly payment of $14, 842.56 until July 1, 2012, when the entire amount of this loan would have become due and payable (balloon payment).

They modified their mortgage for the second time on March 24, 2011 (principal now $2,185,199 with a 5% interest rate and a monthly payment of $11,829 until April 1, 2041) — the modification was necessary since the first modification would have expired on July 1, 2012, and the balloon payment would have been due had they not modified the loan.

On October 11, 2012, the Gorgas refinanced their mortgage for $500,000 more than they owed to extract equity from their home, most likely to pay down debt or make additional purchases — in other words, they received $500,000 cash back (less closing costs) at the close of the new loan by borrowing $2.68 million (the new loan amount) versus $2.18 million (the principal balance on the old loan).

On the cash-out refinance, the initial rate of 4.125% will change to an adjustable rate on November 1, 2019, and the adjustable rate may change on that day every 12th month thereafter. Before each change date, the new rate will be calculated by adding 4% to the current index. The rate at the first change will not be greater than 9.125% or less than 4%. Thereafter, adjustable interest rate will never be increased or decreased on any single change date by more than 2% from the rate of interest being paid for the proceeding 12 months. Interest rate will never be greater than 10.125%.

The amount they borrowed in their cash-out refinance on October 11, 2012, would have been limited to 90% of the home’s value, which means that if the Gorga’s borrowed the maximum amount allowed, their home is valued at approximately $3 million, yet they have it on the market for $3.8 million, which is why is hasn’t sold — it’s overpriced.


“Why don’t you pay your bills… you have to borrow money every week from people.” – Joe Gorga to Joe Gorga during part 3 of the season 4 reunion special

Are the Gorga’s broke, borrowing money from people every week just to pay their bills, like Joe Giudice said at the season 4 reunion? Someone asked Kim D on Twitter, “Do Joe and Melissa live close to Tre? Why are they selling their house?, to which Kim replied: “They’re broke.” Here are more tweets from Kim D about the Gorga’s finances:

“Joe and Melissa, you r broke. Don’t get it twisted. ahhh Joe Gorga wanted to shut me up as soon as I came out. He knows I know too much to mess with me. All the feuds stem from business. QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: what # is bigger, the # of cupcakes you’ve made, eaten, or the # of $$ Melissa Gorga owes to the Gov’t? Melissa Gorga ‘s PSE&G was turned off 4 3 days. Idiot. Melissa Gorga you’re poor, you’re a sleaze, your world goes around, so long as you’re on your knees. For the last time!!! Teresa Giudice had NO clue about what I was doing. PERIOD!” – Tweets from Kim D (‏@KimDPosche), during the premiere of part 3 of the reunion special

“Honey. U r as broke as they come. It seems like u have as much trouble shutting ur mouth as u do ur legs. Not in ur skillset. @melissagorga” – Kim D (@KimDPosche), September 29, 2012, Twitter

“Melissa Gorga’s checks bounce more than she does. Scary. That’s why she needs a store as in debt as she is to afford the stripper costumes.” – Kim D (@KimDPosche), September 29, 2012, Twitter

“Melissa Gorga, you’re poor, you’re a sleaze, your world goes around, so long as you’re on your knees.’ – Kim D (@KimDPosche), October 14, 2012, Twitter

Joe tweeted some photos (see below) of a home he has under construction and the ‘haunted house’ that he is converting into condos. Could the house he is building be Melissa’s new dream ‘spec’ home? Joe and Melissa told Us Weekly on May 22, 2012 and Reality Aired on May 12, 2012:

“I’m a builder. I custom-built the houses we have lived in and will do the same with our next one,” Joe tells Us Weekly exclusively. “We tried Montville, but it just wasn’t for us. We want to go back to Franklin Lakes, which is closer to where I work, and we’re looking at a couple of properties now.”

“Wait till you see the next house I build,” he tells Us.

“I absolutely love our current house and will be sad to leave, but Joe is an incredible builder, so I have no doubt that I’ll love the next house just as much. Although this is the last time he is getting me to pack-up!”, said Melissa.

“We gave Montville a try and want to move back to Franklin Lakes before the kids reach an age where they will all be in school. When we sell our house in Montville, we will move into a rental while Joe custom builds our next house. Joe is a builder and a businessman. He will sell pretty much any property for the right price and build again bigger and better.”

Joe Gorga’s purchases of investment properties since 2008 have been under the company name ’10 Courtland Street LLC.’ They are as follows (in season 4 episode 2, Joe pointed out the various buildings he owns on a city block, saying he put each under his children’s names — but that doesn’t appear to be the case):

May 16, 2008
Construction Loan Mortgage
$3.5 million

Granted to 10 Courtland Street LLC; Guiseppe Gorga

To undertake the development, construction, equipping and furnishing of construction of the renovation of a former storage building into a 58-unit residential building.

Property Address(es):
10-18 Courtland Street, Paterson, NJ
132-136 Barclay Street, Paterson, NJ

Instrument Type MORTGAGE
Instrument# 2008033271
Date Recorded 06/04/2008
Book/Page M9888/33
Mortgagor 10 COURTLAND STREET LLC; GORGA GUISEPPE
Mortgagee BCB COMMUNITY BANK
Block/Lot N/A/
Township PATERSON CITY

July 1, 2009
Commercial Mortgage
$6 million

Granted to 10 Courtland Street LLC; Guiseppe Gorga

Property Address(es):
10-28 Courtland Street, Paterson, NJ
17-25 Camden Street, Paterson, NJ
27-33 Leslie Street, Paterson, NJ

Instrument Type MORTGAGE
Instrument# 2009038533
Date Recorded 07/20/2009
Book/Page M10511/209
Mortgagor 10 COURTLAND STREET LLC; GORGA GIUSEPPE
Mortgagee BOILING SPRINGS SAVINGS BANK
Block/Lot N/A/
Township PATERSON CITY

March 18, 2010
Mortgage
$3.71 million

Granted to 10 Courtland Street LLC; Guiseppe Gorga

Property Address(es):
10-28 Courtland Street, Paterson, NJ
17-25 Camden Street, Paterson, NJ
27-33 Leslie Street, Paterson, NJ
132-136 Barclay Street, Paterson, NJ

Instrument Type MORTGAGE
Instrument# 2010016202
Date Recorded 04/12/2010
Book/Page M10906/223
Mortgagor 10 COURTLAND STREET LLC; GORGA GIUSEPPE
Mortgagee BOILING SPRINGS SAVINGS BANK
Block/Lot N/A/
Township PATERSON CITY

Related:

The Gorgas Claim That They Sold Their Home; Is Joe Gorga Broke and Facing Bankruptcy?; Does He Really Pay His Bills?; Joe Gorga Has a Negative Net Worth of $1.5 Million (Updated 9/3/2013)

October 9, 2012 277 comments

http://www.trulia.com/property/45635745-8-Pond-Vw-Montville-NJ-07045

UPDATE August 20, 2013: RadarOnline reported that the Gorgas sold their home for the asking price of $3.8 million; however, the tabloid consistently misreports, so the information is questionable. In fact, they reported that the Gorgas only paid $950,000 for the mansion, but that’s what they paid for the lot in 2007 (they paid cash, per Melissa) – they took out a $2,250,000 construction loan in 2008 to build the mansion, and later converted it to a regular mortgage loan in the amount of $2,185,199. In October 2012, they extracted $500,000 in equity in a cash-out refinance, probably to pay off their shore house, which was tied to the mortgage loan on their mansion. Us Weekly, aligned with Bravo to promote the Gorgas, also reported on the sale.

“Bad week for Melissa Gorga. Out of $. Home being foreclosed. Forced into (nice) rental & news that she cheated on Joe while married.” – Enty Lawyer ‏(@entylawyerm), February 2, 2013, Twitter

“Why don’t you pay your bills… you have to borrow money every week from people.” – Joe Giudice to Joe Gorga during part 3 of the season 4 reunion special

It is estimated that Joe Gorga’s net worth is a negative $1.5 million because of the depressed value of his real estate holdings (they are mortgaged to the hilt and the loan amounts are more than the properties are worth).

Melissa’s desire for fame started way before Bravo ever came to NJ. She was interested in the HW shows all the way back to the original OC. When Teresa was cast in the NJ series in 2008 [Bravo first approached her in 2007], let me tell you that the explosion should have been heard around the world. From that day, even before filming began, Melissa and Joe did all they could to tell everyone that Bravo chose the wrong NJ HW. I couldn’t believe the things they said about Teresa — how could a brother stoop so low?They are broke. The house was built as a ‘spec’ house and was NOT their real home. As soon as their campaign to get Mel on the show worked, they moved to the spec house and conveniently never told the bank. I tried to tell people not to trust Melissa, but everyone has to find out for themselves I guess. – Regan, May 6, 2012, RealityTea.com

Joe and Melissa Gorga’s mansion, which they built in 2008-2009, is officially for sale…AGAIN — trying to sell your home in a housing slump is a good indicator that you are in over your head.

During season 3, Melissa claimed that Joe surprised her on Christmas with house plans and built the mansion for her as her ‘dream house.’ This was a lie. It was built as a spec home to sell for profit, but the market crashed and they weren’t able to sell it for what Joe was asking… they were living in it while it was officially under construction (construction loan v. mortgage loan) to give the appearance of wealth so that Bravo would cast them.

The Gorgas put their 16-room, 13,500-SF, 6 bedroom, 6 1/2 bath mansion with 4-car garage on 2.24 acres back on the market in May 2012, this time listing it for $3.8 million (it was listed for $4.1 million in 2010 but was pulled off the market when the Gorgas signed their Bravo contract in September 2010). [The construction loan was $2.2 million — they are hoping to sell it for $3.8 million in a depressed market.]

They also had their 3 bedroom, 2 bath ‘shore house’ in Toms River, NJ (which they purchased in 2005 for $450,000) on the market for $520,000, but removed it from the MLS on September 15, 2012.

On May 12, 2012, Melissa told RealityAired that they put their shore house on the market every winter — they want the viewers to believe that they been trying to sell it every winter for six years, yet it was spring, going on summer, and it was still on the market through August 2012, so that story doesn’t add up. Plus, according to Zillow, the shore house has not been for sale every winter; it’s only been for sale once, starting August 2011 (summer, not winter).

They purchased their shore home on May 5, 2005, near the peak of the real estate bubble, for $450,000.

Melissa Gorga stated on WWHL, on July 8, 2012, that she and Joe removed their shore house from the market even though they just received a full price offer on it the past weekend. However, as of July 31, 2012, it was still listed as “active” on Realtor.com, so she lied, again (it was removed from the market on September 15, 2012). Plus, she indirectly admitted that she lied during season 3 when she said Joe surprised her on Christmas Eve with plans for her dream house (their primary residence that they’ve been trying to sell since it was built), saying on WWHL that the house is a ‘flip.’

The Gorgas had a $2.25 million balloon payment due in July 2012; however, they refinanced their home in 2011, which converted the balloon payment into a regular mortgage payment of approximately $12,000 a month.

See the listing information for the mansion at Trulia and more photos here.

“I honestly believe most of them go on this franchise because they’re in serious debt and will air their dirt for the money in hopes it leads to more wealth. I’ll bite that Joe and Melissa might be upgrading to their dream McMansion in Franklin Lakes. BUT why would they sell the shore house that Melissa loves so much and allows her to be closer to her family? IMO, the Gorgas are trying to prevent a PR fire because Joey has allowed his mouth to write a check his bank account can’t cash. Juicy will have the last laugh and be proven right about his opinion of JoGo’s business acumen.” [Judith, May 13, 2012, Reality Tea]

“Why does she feel the need to explain away EVERYTHING?? A blog could write “Melissa Gorga Farts in Sherri Shepard’s Face”, and Melissa would deny it and go to the lengths of getting a signed statement from her doctor about when she farts. (Okay I’m being dramatic, but you get my drift.) I know she wants to prove they’re not really broke and what not, but was it really necessary to provide a BLOG with documentation (no offense Reality Tea; you’re awesome)?? Almost every housewife, from every franchise has something falsely written about them. That doesn’t mean they have to dig for all types of documentation and proof for people that they really don’t have anything to prove to. They let the truth speak for itself. I think that’s why Melissa is so determined to dispel certain rumors. People who have nothing to hide feel they have nothing to prove. I’m just sayin’.” [Sicily, May 15, 2012, Reality Tea]

“I think they are broke. They have to defend it because they have said so muc sh*t about Teresa living beyond her means. They don’t want it to come out that they do the same. I see her always having to show ‘proof’ as a dead give away. People who have things written about them – that isn’t true – laugh it off.” (Plus, they frequently do club appearances for cash and charge their fans for CD signings and meet and greets). [Hanky, May 15, 2012, Reality Tea]

“The reason it is suspicious is you don’t move from your dream home (especially if you have a large family) if there’s not a significant reason. If you have a starter-home, then you move up. Normally this would be nobody’s business, but when you go on these reality shows, you build your own character — and so many of these Housewives portray themselves as far richer than they actually are. So they’re building a false character and not being authentic — and not being (or seeming) authentic on a reality show will ultimately backfire. If you’re just honest and say that you’re overextended on a mansion then I think the public will appreciate that. Coverups never work (see John Edwards).” [Jen, May 15, 2012Reality Tea]

The Gorgas will have to sell the mansion at a loss — they claim they are going to build a new home in Franklin Lakes (a whole 15 miles away).

On May 9, 2012, Us Magazine reported:

“I’m a builder. I custom-built the houses we have lived in and will do the same with our next one,” Joe tells Us Weekly exclusively. “We tried Montville, but it just wasn’t for us. We want to go back to Franklin Lakes, which is closer to where I work, and we’re looking at a couple of properties now.”

Adds “On Display” singer Melissa:

“I absolutely love our current house and will be sad to leave, but Joe is an incredible builder, so I have no doubt that I’ll love the next house just as much. Although this is the last time he is getting me to pack-up!”

Melissa — mom to Joey, 2, Gino, 4, and Antonia, 6 — tells Us their children are approaching the ages “where all of them will be in school and now is the time to try to make the move and be in a place where we are going to stay in the long run.

Joe is eager to move his family into their new home.

“Wait till you see the next house I build,” he tells Us.

On May 12, 2012, Melissa told Reality Aired:

“We gave Montville a try and want to move back to Franklin Lakes before the kids reach an age where they will all be in school. When we sell our house in Montville, we will move into a rental while Joe custom builds our next house. Joe is a builder and a businessman. He will sell pretty much any property for the right price and build again bigger and better.”

They are trying to sell Melissa’s ‘dream house’ just two years after moving into it, and just one year after building her a recording studio in the basement. And now they are implying that they are going to build a bigger and better home, and then sell that one too for the right price.

The Gorgas sold the Franklin Lakes home that Joe built (in 2003) on the lot he bought in 2001, which was before the real estate bubble (he built the home after he met Melissa in March 2003; they started dating in October 2003, she moved in with him in December 2003 and they married in August 2004 — per Teresa, season 3 episode 6, which Melissa later confirmed); he sold the home in 2006 for a profit well over $1 million, which is how he was able to buy the lot and build the mansion in Montville.

In her Bravo blog on May 14, 2012, Melissa claimed that they moved into their mansion in 2008: this would mean that they were living in it while it was under construction (it wasn’t completed until 2009, according to tax records). So she inadvertently admitted that they were living in it without an occupancy permit (at the time, they had an interest-only construction loan, not a mortgage).

She also claimed they were approached by producers while living there in 2010; however, the real story is that Melissa’s campaign to get on the show began in 2008, and Bravo finally agreed to cast her when they promised to bring family drama and to ‘expose’ and ‘destroy’ Teresa (their audition tape).

They officially removed their mansion from the market when they signed their Bravo contract in September 2010; however,  they never stopped looking for a buyer because they were in over their heads with the mortgage and taxes, which totaled $20,000 per month before refinancing in 2011, which lowered their housing payment to $16,000 per month.

“Bravo was interviewing and filming for RHONJ beginning in 2007.  Looking back at the other loan documents dated toward the end of 2007, we can see that the Gorgas decided to plan to move on and up right around that time… They worked their tails off getting an obscene construction loan and bought the Montville property in 2007, but then didn’t finish building until 2009 and perhaps didn’t start living there until 2010… coincidentally around the time that S3 would start filming

It [one of the mortgage documents] says: “The Borrower (aka the Gorgas) also did execute and deliver to Lender a Construction Loan Agreement and other loan documents pertaining to the Loan, as well as mortgages encumbering additional collateral located at 11 Mermaid Rd, Toms River, NJ and 489 Summer St, Paterson, NJ, all dated of even date with the Note and Mortgage.”

This tells me that not only was the 11 Mermaid home used as collateral but so was this 489 Summer property also used jointly as collateral.  It also tells me that the $2.25 million mortgage was executed at the same time that a “Construction Loan Agreement” was executed, which probably means they are one and the same.

These documents would include the document in the first screen that talk about the initial mortgage.

So, the other properties were already being used as collateral and were continuing to be used as collateral in the modified loan 

So, the initial loan in 2007 was for $2,250,000 with interest rate of 9% and was obtained by putting TWO properties up as collateral and was a Construction Loan… 

Under the modification they request to be able to change the interest rate (from 9% to 5%) and the repayment schedule (now pay $11,829.40 per month) and they request to extend the maturity date (from May 16, 2008 to April 1, 2041). 

All of these requests get agreed to and so, as far as I can tell, this is the agreement they currently have that ties up three properties together. 

- Kate, June 8, 2012, What’s That Smell

Joe bought the Montville lot in November 2007 (the year Teresa was cast on RHONJ, which is not a coincidence) and began building the mansion on it in 2008 (the same year they filmed season 1, which is not a coincidence). They moved into the mansion in 2009, when it was still officially ‘under construction,’ hoping to attract Bravo producers with their illusion of wealth. They completed construction in 2009, but they were living in it while it was under construction (and before they converted from the builder’s loan to a mortgage loan in 2011). They were added to the RHONJ cast in September 2010; the mansion was on the market, but they removed it from the market after they were cast on the show.

“Melissa, you were on WWHL making a complete @ss out of yourself. You had the nerve to laugh when they brought up your favorite subject Teresa’s bankruptcy. Your husband was also laughing about his sister’s misfortune. When the call came in about your own MONEY PROBLEMS it wiped the smile off your face. Honey you tried to act as if it did not bother you but because your such a terrible actress you looked like a DEER CAUGHT IN HEADLIGHTS. You were looking back at your husband like HELP. Mike Tyson read you really good. When he made that jokie joke it was on YOU and your HUSBAND. I seen you trying to kiss @ss but it did not stop Iron Mike. LOL. So you lied to the viewers. It turns out your house is a FLIP. REALLY!! Is that your story this season because last season you were telling a different story. What happened to the “HE LOVES ME SO MUCH HE BUILT ME MY DREAMHOUSE” B.S. Story you told us last season. It was Christmas Eve and Joey surprised me with the plans for this house my dream house. Pretty soon you and your husband will be filling bankruptcy too. I can almost smell it. You and your hubby are living above your means. Well you know the old saying EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY. Yours is quickly approaching just because you laughed at your SIL misfortune. I’m pretty sure someone out there will be digging up some dirt on you with proof. Let’s see if you will laugh then. Mike Tyson got your number. Like he said it’s your because you still have possession of the house even if your in foreclosure. After the way you have talked about your SIL and Joe it would be shameful if you ended up with MONEY PROBLEMS TOO. Remember, God don’t like UGLY AND YOU HAVE BEEN VERY, VERY, VERY UGLY.” – purplepower2012, July 10, 2012, Melissa’s Bravo Blog

The following is an excerpt from Melissa’s Bravo blog (notice that she never explained why they are selling the shore house they have owned for seven years, which was supposed to be the home away from home so she could be closer to HER family):

“Please don’t believe any of the rumors that we have a balloon payment due, that our interest rate exploded, or that we can’t pay our bills. Our mortgage history is all available in public records, so I would never say that if it wasn’t true. We have a 30-year fixed mortgage with an interest rate of 5% and have never once missed a mortgage payment in the whole eight years we’ve been married. It would make no sense that now we couldn’t afford this house.

“We own four buildings and have many other investments that would allow us to stay in this house forever if we wanted to. For the record, we sold our last house in Franklin Lakes for $2.45 million to LaVar Arrington (formerly of the Washington Red Skins and NY Giants) and bought in Montville so we could be closer to Teresa and the cousins. We moved into our current house in 2008 and didn’t sign on to the show until 2010. So obviously we did not just move into the house because we got on the show.

We were approached by the producers two years after we were already living here. It does however kind of stink to be looped into the negativity surrounding everyone else’s problems, but I get, so that’s why I’m explaining it to you. Also, to all of you asking about my studio downstairs — it’s just a room, and all the equipment is coming with me! Yes there will be a new studio in my new house. Mind you, if we don’t sell this house, we aren’t moving anywhere. We will still be here! Sorry, it’s not juicier than that.”

Melissa contradicts herself in her April 30 and May 14 Bravo blogs:

In her April 30 Bravo blog she said that in 2008 they couldn’t afford diapers:

“There were times (like the one you heard me remind Joe of) that we couldn’t even buy diapers when Gino was first born. 2008 was definitely a hard year.”

In her May 14 Bravo blog she said that they moved into the mansion in 2008 after having just sold their last home (as the market was peaking), to an NFL player for $2.45 million (Joe bought the land for $345,000 in 2001, before the bubble years, and built the home, so his profit on the home was huge, probably about $1.5 million).

“For the record, we sold our last house in Franklin Lakes for $2.45 million to LaVar Arrington (formerly of the Washington Red Skins and NY Giants) and bought in Montville so we could be closer to Teresa and the cousins. We moved into our current house in 2008.”

Melissa said they moved into the mansion in 2008 (the same year that, according to her previous blog, they didn’t have money for diapers), but the tax records say building on it wasn’t complete until 2009, and the mortgage documents dated July 2009 list their address as their rental property in Kinnelon.

The loan documents prove that the mansion was an investment property: it didn’t sell so the construction loan was modified on July 1, 2009, for a three-year period at 6.25%, meaning the entire loan of $2.25 million would become due and payable in full on July 1, 2012 (the balloon payment that Melissa denies).

The Gorgas were cast and signed their Bravo contract in September 2010: the loan was again modified on April 12, 2011 (before the balloon payment came due) to their current 30-year fixed loan at 5% with a monthly payment of approximately $12,000. A loan modification is completely different from a refinance: normally you only get a loan modification if you can show financial difficulty in making the mortgage payments, and it is usually done to prevent foreclosure. Joe is a builder: it would be odd if he wasn’t struggling somewhat in this economy.

Their mortgage payment is $12,000 per month (it was $15,000 per month before they refinanced for the third time in April 2011). Public record shows their home was reassessed in 2012 for more than twice what it was in 2011 (because its finished value, or market value, was twice the amount it cost to build it). For tax year 2011 they paid over $52,000 per year ($4,400 per month) in residential property taxes. So their total house payment (mortgage plus property tax) is over $16,000 per month — that’s $200,000 per year to live in their ‘dream home.’ [Source] [Source] [Source]

To summarize: The Gorga’s initial loan in 2007 was for $2,250,000 with an interest rate of 9% and was obtained by putting TWO properties up as collateral and was a construction loan (for the lot, they paid $950,000 cash, which was profit from the 2006 sale of the first home Joe built). Under the Gorga’s loan modification request in March 2011, the interest rate was changed from 9% to 5% on a loan amount of $2,185,199, the repayment schedule was extended to April 1, 2041, and their new mortgage payment was lowered from $14,843 to $11,829 per month (not including property taxes of $4,400 per month).