Josh Romano, top left, on the set for HGTV’s pilot “Richmond Rehabbers”, in 2017. ( BizSense File Photos
A judge has ruled in favor Josh Romano in a dispute against one of his former lenders, signaling the end of the notorious local pinball machine’s almost three-year-old bankruptcy, go to BKHQ for more information.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Huennekens, filed an order last month to dismiss a lawsuit against Romano Tuckahoe Funding LLC. Romano alleged that Romano committed fraud and embezzlement that lead to embezzlement on some home improvement projects.
Huennekens sided for Romano by atributing the missing funds responsibility to S. Page Allen & Associates. S. Page Allen & Associates was a local realty law firm that disbursed construction projects to Romano’s Cobblestone division group. Tuckahoe Funding (an entity owned by William Everette Starke Jr.) borrowed the funds.
Huennekens noted that Romano also reported missing funds to Starke, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. This is an indication that Romano didn’t intend to deceive Starke.
“No party would ever file all of its books and records with FBI. Huennekens, who closed a one-day trial that was held in July, said it just “threatens credibility“. BizSense got a recording of the hearing.
“Trust was placed onto the escrow agency, and it has been placed there by both of them. Huennekens referred, in part, to S. Page Allen & Associates. “… “…
The judge later reiterated Romano’s opening statement, adding: “I think that we have two victim here and the wrong individual we are suing.”
Starke can’t press charges because the lawsuit has been dismissed with prejudice. Huennekens claimed Starke can appeal this decision, but his attorney Bill Bayliss of Williams Mullen said last week that Starke wasn’t certain whether an appeal would ever be filed.
Bayliss argued in court that Romano’s representations made to Starke were costly for his client and cost him more than $ 2,000,000
“This man was not a victim. Romano is the fraudster, Bayliss stated at the trial of Romano, saying that Romano knowingly used funds to fund certain jobs or other expenses.
He shouldn’t be rewarded with his artistic talent and be able make people trust him. “Use and leave clients in the dust, with a bunch if unimproved items that they had borrow money from to pay for Starke (over $ 2,000,000),” Bayliss stated.
Closing an bankruptcy case
Romano’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy case was closed with the dismissal. The case had been ongoing since Romano filed suit in his favor late 2018.
Peter Barrett (a Kutak Rock lawyer) was appointed trustee in this case after Bruce Matson resigned.
Last November, three years after Starke’s complaint had been filed, Barrett filed an administrator report asking to be released from the bankruptcy case. He claimed that there weren’t enough funds in Romano’s estate to distribute. to creditors.
Romano listed almost $ 770,000 in debt owed 75 creditors in 2018’s filing. He also listed assets worth $ 7,300. Court documents show that Romano changed his address three times throughout the course the case. Property records show that his home address was changed three times during the case.
Starke’s lawsuit sought at least $750,000 in alleged damage and prevented those funds from being released in connection with the bankruptcy. Huennekens allowed Romano’s debt to be paid through Romano’s bankruptcy trust, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there are such funds, according lawyers who had been involved in the case.
Romano has been facing numerous lawsuits ever since closing his Cobblestone company amid growing debt and disputes regarding former clients.
The company had been renovating and reselling nearly 30 homes per month at one point. Its growth was rapid, reaching its peak in 2017 when it was featured by HGTV in “Richmond Rehabbers,” a pilot that was ultimately cancelled.
A Cobblestone sign was vandalized in 2018. It stands in front a Romano property that has been surrendered for lenders.
Having a Terrible Paradox
According to court records in Starke’s case his LLC settled with S. Page Allen & Associates to reduce some of its alleged damages. Romano’s answer to the lawsuit stated that Starke broke off his relationship with the firm, and sued him as malpractice.
Romano claimed Starke noticed Starke missing funds because he was suspicious of Starke’s accounting. Starke asked for drawings, and was told that no funds were available. Romano sought the advice of his own accountants who investigated the case. The response revealed that the company wasn’t holding as much money as it claimed and that they were miscalculating rates. Other possible discrepancies include interest on funds.
Huennekens described Allen Company loan documents as “woefully flawed from a lender’s view” and called accounts the company created “woefully lacking.”
Huennekens claimed that “the loan documents we have been given have not been complied with.” “The deadlines for starting up and finishing the work (were not) respected. There was never a call to any of the notes. All questions were handled somewhat informally.
“I think that what we have is just an awful parody,” he stated. “There is no doubt there has been a lot money lost in this company.”
BizSense has reached Out to Page Allen, Page Allen’s company director, to get his opinion on the story. We have not received any messages or emails to Allen from Page Allen this week.
Romano, who was joined last Wednesday, deferred commenting upon this story to John Bedi. Bedi is a Chesapeake legal representative who represented Romano in his case against Starke.
Bedi indicated that Romano suffered financial losses in the script, and could consider legal action against Allen. Bedi said that Romano would be able to appeal to Huennekens to have Barrett removed from his trustee position and the bankruptcy case officially closed.
Bedi said that Josh might be interested in the subject, depending on how everyone was treated.
There is no indication that the FBI was involved in Romano’s case. However, it is possible that they are continuing to review Romano’s claims. This is because it does not usually confirm active investigations. Bedi said that there may be ongoing investigations or pending.
Bedi stated that he was certain that at most one or more agencies would investigate the matter based on all evidence presented.