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Thursday
Oct232014

Brooklyn Lyceum in Foreclosure, Being Auctioned Today

The Brooklyn Lyceum, the quirky performance space and former public bathhouse on Fourth and President, has gone into foreclosure and it's on the docket to be sold at auction later today.

There's been a multimillion-dollar lien on the property, and the troubled space's current owner, Eric Richmond, had filed several appeals and taken other steps to try to delay or otherwise prevent the foreclosure and had held the auction off for more than a year. Bankruptcy court has ruled against him every time, however, and unless Richmond is able to fork over more than $5 million (something which would have already happened were it going to), nothing will stop the auction at 2:30 this afternoon.

According to the official documentation, the lien is for $5.05 million, and the Lyceum will be sold to the highest bidder. The next owner of the building will obviously have a big impact on its future, and events in the space have already been planned for later this year. Stay tuned for updates.

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Reader Comments (44)

Trader Joes

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

Tear it down.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterZit Wich

I was coming here to say that this looks like exactly the type of building that Trader Joes likes. Someone give them a heads up!

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterp.

I generally respect anyone fighting a lonely battle, but I'm relieved that someone else will get a chance to revive this space. This building is depressing to walk by, and almost anything (including, gasp, a chain store) would be an improvement over the current state of affairs.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Lockhorn

Building is landmarked - creative adaptive reuse would be great

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklyn Red

It's going to be a CVS with a dropped ceiling.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNsloper

CVS is the correct answer.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBaDaBing

Thank god. How Richmond was able to get away with letting that gorgeous building deteriorate like this, is really criminal.

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrklynmind

Any word on what happened?

October 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I'll pay TEN dollars!

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTed

Well Ted you would have lost because Greystone, a real estate developer, won the auction with a bid of $7.6 million!

See the story at:

http://www.dnainfo.com/20141024/park-slope/developer-buys-landmarked-brooklyn-lyceum-for-76m-at-foreclosure-auction

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBa Da Bing

brklynmind

Yeah. We have been spotty for awhile during the legal battle.

But your comment belies a lack of historical perspective. The building, as meh as it is, is in much better condition than when we arrived.

To use a turn of star trek phrase we have been diverting all our power to the shields, even life support systems for awhile. All is not what it seems and we are continuing to battle on several fronts that all lead to voiding the sale.

A less than usual length summation is here : http://brooklynlyceum.com/crisis/brooklyn-lyceum-building-sold-at-auction.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

@lyceumguy: I appreciate your willingness to keep fighting but at literally every step of the way, you've lost. Your arguments come off more as ramblings of someone not quite grounded in reality rather than the true arguments of a lawyer. I've enjoyed (some of) your events at the Lyceum, but it seems obvious that you don't have the money to keep it going or maintain the building at this point.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVLM

@VLM

If that passes for legal advice I will pass.

Jean Miele has had 15 developers come in and walk away when they look at the paperwork and the things he has or has not done. The big difference Greystone brings is all the shares of Greystone are owned by the founder. If he decides to do something it gets done. That is very uncommon in that realm.

I will ride these horses into the sunset if necessary, but thanks for the feedback.

As an exercise, read this link very carefully and ask yourself, is he crazy and what if any real portion of what he says is true?

http://brooklynlyceum.com/crisis/brooklyn-lyceum-building-sold-at-auction

Then have an informed debate and not just an internet drive-by snark.

I am now and always have been in it to make a Brooklyn Theater. That dream is not dead yet.

Eric

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

@lyceumguy

Like some others have said I admire your moxy , and youre right in pointing out that the building is net better than when you took it over.

BUT as well intentioned as you are, you haven't been able to restore it to the glory it deserves and as you yourself note, developers like Greystone do have those capabilities.

What the neighborhood deserves is a well maintained and thriving building, if Greystone or whoever can make that happen then its in the neighborhoods best interest.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

@jbob

really?

I allege fraud, perjury and misrepresentation, a judge breaking the law by not following a clear statute and complain about due process.

All of these are ignored and so you can walk by a CVS instead of what it is now, I should leave?

Spend 5 minutes to read and digest.

http://brooklynlyceum.com/crisis/brooklyn-lyceum-building-sold-at-auction

If any of it is true, that sale has some real problems.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

The claim about the state court lacking jurisdiction is bogus. The law essentially says that once a defendant has failed to reply, the plaintiff has a year to seek a default judgment. But the court can grant a default judgment after a longer period if there is "sufficient cause" to do so.

After Richmond (or more precisely his LLC, I think) was sued, the plaintiff voluntarily granted Richmond several extensions of time to reply. Then, more than a year after the complaint was filed (but less than a year after Richmond had failed to comply with the extended deadline), the plaintiff sought a default judgment. The court found that the numerous extensions constituted "sufficient cause" to grant the default judgment. (In other words, it was essentially Richmond's own fault that it had taken so long, because he kept asking for extensions. If you take those extensions into account, the plaintiff was within the one-year period.)

None of that is remotely problematic, and the fact that Richmond to this day insists the state court lacked jurisdiction to enter a default judgment is baffling. Anyway if he disagreed with the court's conclusion, he could have argued his case on appeal. Instead he filed two successive bankruptcy petitions and asked the bankruptcy court to overturn the state court decision. That's something bankruptcy courts are not generally authorized to do, and so now Richmond is raving about Judge Craig being corrupt. I don't know where this will all end but if Richmond has any sense he will take his six-figure payment and walk away from the whole thing.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGladstone

@Lyceum guy

Frankly I don't care- what I do care about is a thriving landmarked building.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJbob

A thriving CVS? you people deserve the glass tower office park shitty brooklyn you get shame on you

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRJF

@gladstone.

Glad you raised all those .

Would you like to attend a public forum, make that same case to a grand jury of your peers? Maybe a common law one? You have so much specificity I believe you are one of the attorneys.

But I will address a few things.

Check the September 28, 2012 decision by Judge Kurtz where he found that there had been no extensions of time. Why, because PB#7 and / or its predecessor never alleged anything when they made the after one year delay motion.

But, one squirrelly, unsubstantiated, unconfirmed and contested affidavit by the attorneys (Cohen and Perfetto / Claude Castro) for the people who screwed up the paperwork and a new decision without addressing our cases that state that an affidavit by an attorney unsubstantiated, unconfirmed and contested is wholly inadmissable and a new decision comes out that there was an extension.

Does that decision do the math and add up the possible 1 month extension that needed to be 7 months. Nope. Granted full value to an inadmissable self serving affidavit by Claude Castro.

And as to jurisdiction. A legal primer since you are reaching so hard.

Courts a have jurisdiction over disputes. If the case is abandoned there is no dispute. A decision where there is no dispute is without jurisdiction. It can also be seen as a hearing without notice. There it is again. No jurisdiction if no notice.

Next. There ARE two appeals out on the state court case.

Next. The statute you dance around is Rooker Feldman. It is applicable where 4 things exist. And even if those 4 things exist it is inapplicable if there was no jurisdiction or when there is extrinsic fraud or if the act the judge was "allowed" to do was not judicial, like record keeping.

The fraud and perjury is dead to rights. The other side placed into the record exhibits sworn to by a senior counsel to Troutman Sanders that are flatly contradicted by the record and Troutrman Sanders own billing records.

Next. The federal judge has made so many judgments and sleight of hand findings, ground breaking in ways that will increase the federal case load by tens of thousand of cases a year all to, as far as we can tell, never utter the name Troutman Sanders. The other favorite is, on the record claiming no knowledge of things we can quote from prior decisions that are online, over 100 of them. There is more but that should suffice for now.

Sorry for the length.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

Did the auction include the lot next door?

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim

it did not include the lot.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

@Jim: No. The lot next door is no longer owned by Mr. Richmond.

@lyceumguy, with an argument like that it's almost hard to believe the courts have ruled against you every time. I don't have any involvement in this case or any interest in its outcome (beyond my interest, as a resident of the neighborhood, in seeing the building repaired). And, sure, I would be happy to repeat this argument to . . . a grand jury of my peers? For some reason? Already I'm having trouble following your point.

I'm looking at a decision issued by Judge Kurtz on December 19, 2012. I'll quote:

In support of his cross-motion, Richmond argues that the complaint should be dismissed because plaintiff did not move for a default judgment within one year and failed to proffer an excuse for its delay in moving. He argues that the case is "statutorily" abandoned pursuant to CPLR §3215(c)....

In opposition to this cross-motion, plaintiff does not dispute that it failed to move for a default judgment within a year. Instead, it states that it demonstrates sufficient cause for failure to timely move because it granted defendants various extensions to serve an answer. In support of its claim, plaintiff submits the affirmation of plaintiff's former counsel wherein he states that he spoke with counsel for defendants after the action was commenced and that he agreed to extend their time to answer. He states that defendants' counsel represented that Richmond was attempting to raise funds to pay off the mortgage. He granted several extensions, both orally and in writing. Plaintiff maintains that based upon the extensions, the time to answer was sometime in November or December of 2008. Plaintiff allegedly moved for a default judgment within one year after the last extension granted.

. . .

[T]he court finds that plaintiff, in response to this cross-motion, offers a sufficient excuse for not moving for a default judgment within the year prescribed by CPLR §3215(c).

Consequently, the cross-motion is denied in its entirety.

I think my earlier summary was pretty much spot-on. The court heard your argument and rejected it. All this nonsense about the dispute somehow disappearing after one year, as if the CPLR didn't expressly contemplate that a judge could extend that time for sufficient cause, is ridiculous.

I don't have time to parse and refute your other claims but if your track record is any indication they are equally baseless. Quickly, though, Rooker-Feldman isn't a statute, it's a common law doctrine that basically prevents people from filing for bankruptcy just so that they can attack a state court ruling. Now admittedly, that's not what you did. You filed for bankruptcy as part of a scheme to delay, hinder, or defraud your creditors. But you took the opportunity to try to use the bankruptcy court as a court of appeals, and Judge Craig rightly refused to do so, applying Rooker-Feldman. I can see how these somewhat intricate legal niceties can be hard to understand, but in that case, for God's sake hire a lawyer.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGladstone

Now, having at least rudimentary pattern-recognition skills, I can anticipate what @lyceumguy's answer will be. It was all perjury. Every time a judge rules against @lyceumguy, it is because the opposing lawyers have risked their careers and reputations to advance a foreclosure that was pretty much inevitable anyway. (Or because the judge is corrupt and is likewise risking her career to advance a foreclosure that, again, is inevitable anyway.)

But note something from the decision I quoted. The plaintiff's former lawyer said that he granted several extensions both orally and in writing. Why would he have said that "in writing" part if it were untrue? He would be risking the possibility that @lyceumguy's lawyer would say, "All right, then, where are these written extensions? Let's see them." (Your lawyer did say that, right, @lyceumguy? He's got to earn his fees somehow.)

These are the kind of details that make me, as a reader, pretty confident that this lawyer wasn't perjuring himself. (Seriously, perjury is a career-ending thing for a lawyer.) And the judge apparently agreed, determining that the lawyer's credibility was sufficient to allow the foreclosure to move forward.

At some point you're going to have to look at your consistently terrible results in court and face the fact that the world isn't conspiring to destroy you . . . you are simply advancing untenable legal theories in front of surprisingly (but not infinitely) patient judges who struggle mightily to understand what the hell you are talking about. As do we all.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGladstone

Common law grand jury. Look it up. Coming to a disgruntled city near you. Like a mock pre-trial that the public can see. Sheds a little light on the whole thing.

You prove my point. You quoted the second decision rendered after giving full value to a self-serving, unsubstantiated, unconfirmed, contested affidavit that is not allowed under a dozen cases on CPLR 3215c.

Try looking for ones where the motion for default didn't allege an excuse. There are 5. All say the case is dead. Look at the case she used. Dicta and the case is actually for my assertion that a judgment in violation of statute is a nullity.

Look at the prior September 28 decision finding no extension of time was granted. Quote from that one.

Rooker Feldman is often used in bankruptcy but is an overarching doctrine used by federal courts to prevent re-addressing "final" state court cases. Ours are not "final" any which way you stretch it. Attorney for PB #7 has stated that quite clearly in recent papers. Feldman has nothing to do with bankruptcy. It has to do with two similar bar admission cases in DC in 1983.

And that is quite the re-imaginaton, the law doesn't grant anything in that CPLR 3215c clause, it just acknowledges that actions by one or both parties tolled the default time. Not the court. Can't be after the fact imagined though.

Bankruptcy... Keep quoting things without looking at the cases or the case law. The finding Judge Craig made requires every member of an LLC file bankruptcy at the same time as the LLC or risk losing the purpose of the Bankruptcy. I am sure you will come back on that one. Happy to dig deeper later.

Defend Judge Craig all you want. I learned all I needed to know when she cancelled the last two hearings before the hearing date and ignored filed papers in her decisions without hearing.

Look, I like Judge Craig just from her court demeanor with people like me. But this makes no sense. Sit in her courtroom for a few days. She is a virtual saint. Unless you stand up for your self. I had the gall to challenge the use of Rooker Feldman by quoting her own cases back to her and she has come out swinging every opportunity since then. Then I did more research and I don't like what I see. But since she doesn't allow hearings, ignores papers and cases submitted, chooses half sentences out of decisions, bizarrely won't address fraud and when challenged said they merely "misled" the judge in the state court.

Ugh. I could go on. But not now.

October 24, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlyceumguy

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