A Foxborough real estate developer who fell on hard times after the economic downturn has been sued for allegedly taking â€” and then refusing to return â€” more than $200,000 in down payments for new homes in Sharon that were never provided, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.
The AG's office has obtained a restraining order in Suffolk Superior Court against Michael IntocciaÂ and his companies including Bella Estates Realty Trust, MTI Realty and Intoccia Builders Corp., prohibiting them from accepting future deposits for new homes unless the deposits are put into escrow. The order also freezes assets enough to pay a possible court judgment, and requires the defendants to disclose records that might reveal the existence of other consumers who paid deposits but never received a new home.
The lawsuit seeks more than $200,000 in restitution for five homebuyers who paid for single-family homes in the Bella Estates development in Sharon. Coakleyâ€™s office is also seeking statutory penalties and a further injunction preventing the defendants from taking unsecured deposits.
Intoccia operates a development business in Norfolk County through a network of companies that were involved in the planning, marketing, and construction of the Bella Estates development that was to consist of 29 single-family house lots, according to the complaint. The defendants allegedly solicited buyers and took deposits of up to $55,300 per residence, Coakley said.
The Boston Business Journal last wrote about intoccia in November after a four-alarm fire in RaynhamÂ destroyed at least six units within a condominium development that was among a handful of his properties previously scheduled for foreclosure auctions. The 20-acre development site was planned to support 55 townhouses in 10 buildings on the 20-acre property.
Since 2008, Intoccia's collection of high-end housing develpoments throughtout suburban Boston have been staggered byÂ declining home prices and tight credit markets. In September 2011, he narrowly escaped a planned foreclosure auction for 13 building lots and a partially completed home at the Christina Estates in Hingham, a project backed by The Village Bank of Newton. It was the sixth such postponement in recent months.
At the time, Intoccia told the BBJ that his troubles in Hingham would be over once his attorney, Robert Selmerdine of Sharon, and The Village Bankâ€™s lawyer, Alexander G. Rheaume of Riemer & Braunstein in Boston, â€œfinalize the documentsâ€ associated with the propertyâ€™s mortgage.
â€œThis has got nothing to do with being spread too thin. Itâ€™s about the economy,â€ Intoccia told the BBJ..
Other lenders have backed troubled Intoccia projects with tens-of-millions in mortgage loansÂ including Norwood Cooperative Bank and Rockland Trust. His projects have mostly targeted Bostonâ€™s south-eastern suburbs such as Franklin, Foxborough, Duxbury, Raynham and North Attleboro.
In several cases, those projects have repeatedly been scheduled for foreclosure auctions due to passed-due mortgage balances and unpaid taxes.
According to the AG's complaint, Intoccia and his companies also allegedly made false promises to promptly build homes when they knew that construction was prevented by permitting issues, and in some cases took multiple deposits for the same lot. Homebuyers suffered additional expenses for moving, temporary housing, appliances and fixtures for houses that were never built.
The defendants allegedly held consumersâ€™ deposits long after the final deadlines for closing passed and in some cases more than two years after the deposit was paid. The complaint alleges that the defendants allowed many lots in Bella Estates to fall into foreclosure.
A hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction to extend the conditions of the temporary restraining order will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Source: Boston Business Journal Â
Mario Pavli Vice PresidentÂ Boston Luxury ResidentialÂ