Rye Brook CPA claims bankrupt Cobble Creek homebuilder cheated on him


A Rye Brook accountant who loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars to a local home builder sued the borrower in bankruptcy court to recover more than $ 300,000.

Anthony Artabane’s ACCBA Holdings is asking the court to prevent Joseph J. Denn, owner of the late Cobble Creek Builders Inc., from using bankruptcy to write off his debts.

Denn allegedly claimed he had no significant debts when he borrowed funds from Artabane, according to the October 11 lawsuit filed in U.S. bankruptcy court, White Plains.

But Denn, also of Rye Brook, allegedly failed to reveal that Cobble Creek was in default on his American Express account; he paid for cheerleading lessons for Denn’s daughter and utilities for Denn’s house, and he deducted personal expenses from work expenses. Artabane also alleges that Denn took a small salary from Cobble Creek to reduce payroll taxes and instead took money that was not recorded as compensation.

“Sir. Denn denies the allegations of the complaint as stated as they are without merit,” said his lawyer, Jeffrey A. Reich, in an email. “He looks forward to being substantiated. . by the Court. “

Artabane was a partner at the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers until 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile, and has been running his own accounting firm since then. He is a past chair of the investment management committee of the New York State Society of CPAs.

He formed ACCBA Holdings in 2012 for “investment purposes,” the complaint says.

Artabane hired Denn in 1995 to build a house in Rye Brook and in 2012 to do more work on the house, according to the complaint, and over the years their wives have become close friends and families have socialized with each other. others.

Denn started borrowing money from Artabane in 2015, starting with $ 30,000 and then $ 100,000 to help finance construction projects. He continued to borrow until 2016, according to the complaint.

Denn repaid some of the debts or made interest payments, but by mid-2017 he reportedly defaulted on several loans.

In 2019, Denn personally guaranteed a debt of $ 200,000, but defaulted on that obligation, according to the complaint.

The ACCBA sued Denn in Westchester Supreme Court in 2019 and won a judgment of $ 286,511. In early 2020, the court scheduled a hearing on a draft restraining order to order Denn not to transfer funds from his financial accounts.

Two weeks later, Denn filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization application, automatically freezing the Westchester Supreme Court action.

Denn cited the restraining order and “a significant loss of income resulting from the closure of … Cobble Creek Builders Inc. in 2018” in an affidavit explaining why he needed bankruptcy protection.

He reported $ 1.4 million in assets, consisting mostly of his home in Rye Brook, and nearly $ 1.7 million in liabilities.

His monthly income was close to $ 12,000 and his expenses were close to $ 22,000 for a shortfall of $ 9,783 per month.

Artabane alleges that Denn obtained the ACCBA loans through false pretenses, misrepresentation or fraud; that he transferred the assets of Cobble Creek to defraud the ACCBA; and that he has hidden or falsified business records, so he should not be allowed to pay his debts.

ACCBA is represented by Manhattan attorneys David H. Wander and Alexander R. Tiktin.

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