I am thankful for the other terrific blogging voices in the community. Pattye Benson, my pal in Tredyffrin reminds us today of a very BIG name and a very BIG drama that continues to play out: Brian O'Neill vs. Citizens Bank.
What up with Big Brian in Lower Merion, I wonder? Rock Hill Road, Righters Ferry Road, that site in Gladwyne and whatever else is out there?
Wegmans and Target opened to much fanfare at Uptown Worthington but the battle rages behind the scenes between the property’s developer Brian O’Neill and Citizens Bank.
This story has all the trappings of a made-for-TV movie drama. The “man-versus-man” plot features a central character (Brian O’Neill) and an opposition character (Citizens Bank) as the primary actors. The central character has a goal and the opposition is going to attempt to stop the central character before he obtains the goal.
The latest chapter in the continuing saga of the mega-million dollar lawsuit and countersuit between O’Neill Properties and Citizen Bank has attorneys for the bank accusing Brian O’Neill of harassment against five of the bank’s top execs. O’Neill counters the accusations; claiming that the bank destroyed evidence and lodges obstruction of justice allegations.
This week Brian O’Neill and Citizens Bank are headed back to court . . . once again, the courtroom becomes the legal playground for attorneys on both sides. As the war wages on between developer and bank, the $700 million Uptown Worthington project on 106 acres sits largely unfinished. Reportedly, O’Neill Properties is feeling the effect of the recession – the payroll has dropped 50%, down from 150 employees to 75 over the last couple of years.
O’Neill’s battle with Citizens Bank is not confined to the Uptown Worthington project.....
A summer of love it has not been in the case of J. Brian O'Neill v. Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania.
The litigation, initiated in January with harsh accusations and wildly high claims for damages, has grown even more acerbic since a judge urged both sides to settle in June.
Last month, lawyers representing the bank accused developer O'Neill of harassment for trying to depose five directors or high-ranking executives of Citizens and its parent, Citizens Financial Group Inc., who, they said, had no direct knowledge of O'Neill's dealings with the bank.
Now comes an allegation by O'Neill that the banking company altered or destroyed evidence in the case.
"Obstruction of justice" is what O'Neill's attorneys called it in a motion filed earlier this month in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
"More bluster piled upon bluster" is what the bank's attorneys called it in a response filed Friday.
So on Wednesday, the parties will head again to the courtroom of Common Pleas Senior Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr.
In a brief interview Friday, Sheppard said he was disappointed by that, calling the legal expenditures involved to sustain the continuing volley of charges "bad money after good." ...
O'Neill's obstruction-of-justice allegation and request for sanctions against the bank stem from an update a bank employee made to an Internet-based loan-tracking system called Salesforce.com.
The entry at issue involves part of a $40 million loan O'Neill contends the bank agreed to extend to him for the first phase of the Sayreville project - and then canceled just before the scheduled closing.
The bank has said that while the loan was initially approved by Citizens, Royal Bank of Scotland ultimately nixed it for a variety of reasons.
Triggering an allegation of document-tampering was an entry that bank employee Jeffrey Nugent made to Salesforce.com three days after he gave a May deposition in connection with O'Neill's lawsuit.
On the day of that deposition, according to court documents, the bank's description of its financing commitment to O'Neill's Sayreville project, dated Sept. 19, 2008, read: "Opportunity Closed/Won. Probability 100%." An entry dated May 7 changed the status of the funding agreement to: "Opportunity Lost. Probability 0%."
Now not quite related per se, but food for thought when it comes to these Main Line developers and their projects, comes this beauty of an article from the Legal Intellegencer which someone scanned and sent:
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Page last updated: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:19:21 -0400