The First Department determined the complaint stated causes of action for both constructive and actual fraudulent conveyance. The facts are too complex to summarize here, but the nature of the transactions is revealed in the following excerpts:
The complaint states a cause of action for constructive fraudulent conveyance against Globe Institute, the Rabinovich defendants and 878 LLC by alleging that the conveyance of Globe Institute’s assets to 878 LLC was made without the exchange of “fair consideration,” since the transaction could be viewed as resulting in part of the value of Globe Institute’s assets being paid to its shareholders indirectly, suggesting bad faith (see Debtor and Creditor Law § 272[a]). Further, while the asset purchase agreement provided for 878 LLC to assume certain liabilities of Globe Institute and to make future conditional payments to Globe Institute’s shareholders, in opposition to the motion, plaintiff presented supplementary evidence that the consideration was not a “fair equivalent” for the valuable assets transferred (see id.). The complaint also adequately alleges that the transaction rendered Globe Institute insolvent (Debtor and Creditor Law § 273) and was accomplished while Globe Institute was engaged in business (Debtor and Creditor Law § 274), and that Globe Institute and the Rabinovich defendants were aware that the transaction would prevent Globe Institute from fulfilling its obligations under its guarantee of rental payments due under Globe Alumni’s lease … .
The cause of action for actual fraudulent conveyance under Debtor and Creditor Law § 276 is also adequately pleaded against Globe Institute, the Rabinovich defendants, and 878 LLC. Although the transaction was conducted at arm’s length, plaintiff has sufficiently alleged ” badges of fraud,'” i.e., “circumstances so commonly associated with fraudulent transfers that their presence gives rise to an inference of intent,'” including (1) the parties’ structuring of the transaction so that the sole consideration promised to Globe Institute, aside from 878 LLC’s assumption of certain of Globe Institute’s liabilities, was a $1.35 million payment directly to its shareholders, the Rabinovich defendants, rather than to Globe Institute itself, (2) the exclusion of Globe Institute’s guarantee of the lease agreement from the list of assumed liabilities, although the parties knew that Globe Institute would be left as a corporate shell as result of the transaction and would therefore be unable to honor any future liabilities, (3) inadequate consideration, and (4) the transaction’s having been outside the usual course of business and hastily closed over the course of only a few days, while other potential buyers required a much longer due diligence period … . 172 Van Duzer Realty Corp. v 878 Educ., LLC, 2016 NY Slip Op 05957, 1st Dept 9-8-16
DEBTOR-CREDITOR LAW (CAUSES OF ACTION FOR BOTH CONSTRUCTIVE AND ACTUAL FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE STATED, ELEMENTS DESCRIBED)/FRAUD (CAUSES OF ACTION FOR BOTH CONSTRUCTIVE AND ACTUAL FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE STATED, ELEMENTS DESCRIBED)/FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE (CAUSES OF ACTION FOR BOTH CONSTRUCTIVE AND ACTUAL FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE STATED, ELEMENTS DESCRIBED)