Mayoral Candidate in legal dispute
Israel Reyes at the center of lawsuit over allegations on May Street
By: Paula Porten December, 2008
Former Lawrence City Councilor and candidate for Mayor, Israel Reyes, is wrangled in a lawsuit involving May Street Partners, LLC, Reyes Group, Inc. and several properties on May Street in Lawrence.
May Street Partners owns the property located at 36 May Street and entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Israel Reyes as President of Reyes Group to “accomplish the development and sale of developed property.”
Under the agreement, Reyes would be responsible for day to day oversight of the construction of one duplex, consult relative to the permitting process and interface with City of Lawrence personnel.
Reyes Group would act as the construction management/marketing firm for the project. According to the agreement, Reyes Group would also be paid a consulting fee of $25,000.00 for each duplex built.
Documents obtained from Essex Superior Court reveal that in the lawsuit filed against May Street Partners, Reyes claims that the parties entered into an Agreement on or about May 15, 2006. The agreement states that May Street Partners contracted with Israel Reyes for the development, permitting and construction of four units known as 36A, 36B, 38A and 38B, May Street.
Reyes claims that he performed all of his obligations under the contract and that May Street Partners failed to pay him $31,500 for construction costs and $18,750 for services performed under the contract.
Reyes claims in his complaint that he provided May Street Partners with an accounting of the monies owed and that they have failed to make payments.
However, according to May Street Partners’ answer to the complaint, as well as its counterclaims, not only did Reyes fail to provide any accounting, he also failed to submit invoices and corresponding cancelled checks, he refused to account for $15,000 paid by May Street Partners in connection with the Agreement, and he refused to submit bank statements where funds paid by May Street Partners and the Southern Bank of New Hampshire were deposited.
According to May Street Partners, they are unable to verify the actual cost of labor because Reyes Group refuses to disclose any written verifications of the workers and their costs. Also, according to the answer, May Street Partners has been notified that certain workers hired by Reyes Group to work on the premises have not been paid.
To date, May Street Partners have paid Reyes Group $512,250.
In their counterclaim, May Street Partners is claiming breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of funds, violation of MGL ch93A and slander of title.
A Mechanics lien is a lien which is placed on property for the amount of money in dispute and registered with the Registry of Deeds so that when a title search is done on the property the lien will appear and must be cleared before the property is sold.
The mechanics lien is in the amount of $44,000.
May Street Partners claims that the information contained in the recording of the mechanics lien is an intentional and false misrepresentation of the facts and the amount claimed.
The breach of fiduciary duty claim arises from the allegation that The Reyes Group falsely communicated with the Southern Bank of New Hampshire regarding payments made by May Street Partners, that Reyes Group “walked off” the construction site of the premises and that Reyes Group refuses to disclose financial information, its record keeping, disbursement, and bookkeeping to May Street Partners.
May Street Partners is demanding $60,000 from Reyes Group for each counterclaim, with triple damages, attorney fees, costs and other damages the Court deems appropriate.
A Status Conference on this case is scheduled this month in Essex Superior Court in Newburyport.
Reyes refused to be interviewed for this story.
A former member of the Planning Board, and a former candidate for State Representative, Reyes is considered a serious contender for mayor in 2009.
Running against Reyes are: City Council President Pat Blanchette, Pedro Payano, State Rep. Willie Lantigua, Former Mayor Marcos Devers, Julia Silverio, and Nunzio DiMarca. Considering a run for the corner office are Police Chief John Romero, District “E” Councilor Dave Abdoo, former Councilor Carlos Matos.
The Valley Patriot will be following the Reyes case and follow up stories will be filed.