Persaud Still Fights to regain businesses she claims stolen in "phony" arbitration
Persaud hired a forensics expert who found variation between samples of her signature and the signatures attributed to her in copies of the disputed agreement.
[Black Star News Investigative Series]
A Guyanese-born businesswoman is hoping a judge will rule on November 28 in her favor in her long-fought case to recover her multi-million dollar businesses she says were stolen through forged documents and a "phony" arbitration procedure.
She hopes a bankruptcy court judge sends the case back to a lower court; an appelate court had already made such a ruling earlier this year.
The case will be heard at 9AM at 360 Adams Street, in Brooklyn, on the 3rd floor before Elizabeth S. Stong, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York. "On this day the judge will make a decision whether to send the case to a lower court or to have a Trustee run the business," says the business woman, Christine Persaud. "The best thing would be for the judge to return the business to me."
Persaud points to the history of the case and contends there is no need to even place the businesses, Caring Home Care and Liberty Care under the care of a Trustee. Caring Home Care currently generates about $35 million in revenue, Persaud, who founded the business, contends.
"I am hoping all those who have supported me throughout my struggle will show up on that day," Persaud says. She has been fighting to regain control of the businesses for nearly three years now, from Abraham Klein. He had loaned her money to finance her payroll but later claimed they had signed a partnership agreement; she claims Klein forged partnership agreements.
Persaud, in May 2011, won an appeal that sent her case back to State Supreme Court in King's county, before Arthur M. Schack. Yet, the case has not been placed on the calendar, Persaud says. What's more, she contends Judge Schack has made several "biased" rulings against her. She wants him removed from the case. But in order for that to happen, the case has to be placed back on the calendar before Judge Schack, she says.
Judge Schack had on April 17, 2009 confirmed an "arbitration" award made by Marvin Neiman, in favore of Klein, who had once covered Persaud's payrolls, from 2007 to 2009. Persaud claimed the "arbitration" was fraudulent, since Neiman had once been Klein's own attorney and therefore had a conflict of interest.
With respect to the purported agreement, Persaud hired a forensics expert who found variation between samples of her signature and the signatures attributed to her in copies of the disputed agreement.
Sam Rieff, who earlier represented Persaud had signed an affidavit swearing that he had represented Persaud and that while contract negotiations did occur, that she had never signed one. The Black Star News previously asked Klein and his attorney Mendel Zilberberg to produce an original copy of the purported contract, without any success.
Klein and Zilberberg also have not been able to produce original copies of the purported contract before either Neiman or Judge Schack. When The Black Star asked Judge Schack whether he had ever seen an original copy, he declined to answer the question, through his law clerk.
Neiman conducted a so-called "arbitration" hearing on March 19, 2009; both Persaud and her attorney refused to appear, citing Neiman's conflict of interest.
Nevertheless, Neiman awarded 100% ownership of Caring Home Care, founded by Persaud, to Klein, even though he had only claimed a 50% stake in his own complaint.
Neiman also awarded Klein a 50% stake in another Persaud business, Liberty Home Care; Klein had never made a claim against that business. Neiman topped the "arbitration" hearing with a $2 million cash award to Klein.
Klein and his attorney Zilberberg then asked the State Supreme Court in King's county to confirm the award, which Judge Shack did on April 17, 2009, in a hearing where both Persaud and her attorney Eugene Levy, also didn't appear. It turned out that on the same date that Judge Schack had scheduled the hearing, Persaud's attorney Eugene Levy was also scheduled to appear on behalf of another client of his on a case in State Supreme Court in Queens County.
Judge Schack denied Levy's request for an adjournment, ruling that his application had been defective; Levy had entered the wrong caption of the case and the name of the presiding judge of the case in his application.
So, by default, Judge Schack awarded Caring, which Persaud says at the time generated more than $10 million in annual revenue, to Klein. The judge also awarded Klein $2.3 million. "I have never been before a jury trial," Persaud says. "A jury would clearly decide that I own this business."
Persaud and a new attorney, Stephen Preziosi, then filed an appeal on May 3, 2010 to the Second Appelate Department, seeking a reversal of Judge Schack's confirmation of the Neiman purported "arbitration." The appellate court ruled in Persaud's favor this past May 2011, returning the case to King's county.
Meanwhile, Klein has been operating Caring Home Care; Klein also garnished payments going to Liberty, the second business. In order to try and protect her businesses, Persaud has sought bankruptcy protection. Persaud believes that since the Appelate court ruled that she is entitled to a trial in the lower courts. "The first thing I want is for all bankruptcy actions to end. I want a jury trial to decide because I never signed a partnership agreement. The bankruptcy judge should just return the business to the rightful owner, which is me," Persaud says.
"There is no need for the business to be placed with a Trustee anymore, since the Appelate court has decided that I deserve a trial. That is why the November 28 date is very important."
Previously, Judge Schack had refused Persaud's motion to recuse himself from the case.
Persaud says Klein decided to go after her business after he asked her,
on October 10, 2008, to take a $7 million loan against Caring to invest
in some business interests he had in China, and she rejected the
proposal. "They made up phony documents to steal all my companies with
the help of a sitting judge and there friend, the so-called arbitrator," she says.
On February 8 this year, an intruder entered Persaud's residential building and kicked on her door in an apparent bid, she says, to harm her or intimidate her. Persaud believes the invasion, caught on the building's security camera is connected to her case and describes the person as a possible "hitman." She reported the matter to police. She has offered a $5,000 reward for information about the intruder.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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