Developer Ordered to Pay $16 Million

As quoted in the Daily Business Review, “When Fort Lauderdale forensic accountant Barry Mukamal was appointed bankruptcy trustee for a homeowners association in Miami Gardens, the group had no assets and no cash.”

The Honorable A.Jay Cristol, United States Bankruptcy Judge in his “Findings of Fact And Conclusions of Law” (“Findings”) on October 21, 2016, ordered major developer D.R. Horton, Inc., along with co-defendants Rafael Roca, Amalia Papadimitriou, Christian Gausman and Karl Albertson to pay more than $16 million in special and punitive damages for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.  The Findings describe this as “a modern day story of David and Goliath.  Goliath is D.R. Horton , a New York Stock Exchange company and self-described largest residential developer in America.  David is Debtor Majorca Isles Master Association.  …. Majorca Isles was and is a low to moderate income residential community” located in Miami Gardens, Florida.

On page 5 of the  “Findings” Judge Cristol praised Trustee Mukamal “for his selfless conduct as a trustee acting in the finest tradition of a fiduciary.”  Further, “It is important to recognize and comment upon the actions of the chapter 11 Trustee, Barry Mukamal, because what he did was extraordinary.  Mr. Mukamal was appointed in a case with no assets and no cash.  He could not have been criticized for performing a minimum amount of trustee’s duties with prospect of little or no compensation.  Instead, (Mukamal) saw the Debtor not as a defunct corporate entity, but as an association representing 355 low or moderate income families not capable of fending for themselves against a multi-million dollar financial giant.”