Pennsylvania Record

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Phila. judge denies reconsideration motion in mosque real estate case

By Jon Campisi | Feb 20, 2014

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge has refused a motion for reconsideration that had been filed by the plaintiff in a case initiated over an alleged fraudulent real estate transfer.

Judge Albert John Snite, Jr., on Feb. 6 denied the motion filed by African Islamic Community Center seeking to reconsider the court’s Dec. 27, 2013, decision granting summary judgment to American Land Transfer Inc. and Stewart Title Guaranty Co., the title company and title insurer to a real estate transaction involving a Philadelphia mosque.

The plaintiff alleged in its amended complaint that the defendants conspired to fraudulently transfer title ownership of the mosque from AICC to South West Community Center, an entity under the control of Mohamed Jomandy, who is also president of AICC.

The plaintiff’s complaint averred that on the same day in which AICC acquired the mosque, Jomandy transferred title to SWCC for nominal consideration of $1.

The title work involved in the alleged fraudulent transaction was performed by ALT, which had been hired by a non-party to the litigation, records show.

As a result of the alleged fraudulent transaction, AICC was left with the burden of a mortgage owed to the non-party, lender to AICC, without the benefit of retaining title to the mosque, according to court papers.

In its complaint, AICC alleged that ALT and STGC played an important part in the fraudulent conveyance of the mosque from AICC to SWCC.

The amended complaint also contained counts of negligence and gross negligence solely against ALT for its failure to disclose the fraud to AICC.

In its order late last year granting summary judgment to the defendants, the court determined that the plaintiff failed to produce any evidence of facts essentially to its case against ALT and STGC.

One example given by the judge was that the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence under the conspiracy claim that the defendants had combined with others for the purpose of doing an unlawful act, or for the purpose of doing a lawful act by unlawful means for an unlawful purpose.

The judge ruled that the plaintiff, AICC, also failed to offer evidence under the fraud claim that ALT and STGC had made any false representations with the intent of misleading AICC.

Finally, the court found that AICC could not maintain its negligence and gross negligence claims because it had not offered any evidence showing that ALT owed a duty to AICC.

In its motion for reconsideration, the plaintiff argued that the court “essentially adopted defendants’ factual assertions and analysis without considering material, factual assertions made by [AICC] in its submissions to the court,” according to Snite’s memorandum.

The plaintiff also asserted that the court “ignored material evidence proffered by [AICC] and the inferences favorable to [AICC] from that evidence.”

Snite wrote that he re-examined the evidentiary record upon receipt of the motion for reconsideration and determined that summary judgment was properly granted to the defendants.

The plaintiff, Snite found, “failed to provide any evidence essential to preserve its cause of action to require this court to grant the motion for reconsideration.”

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