The Teamsters Union's Central States Pension Fund has sued a major Virginia bank and several prominent local developers for $10 million in damages over alleged misuse of funds in an unsuccessful land deal in Vienna, Va.
The suit, ordinally filed in federal court in Illinois in 1979 by the fund's nine trustees, was transferred to federal court in Alexandria late Friday after it was determined that the Illinois court did not have jurisdiction over the case.
Defendants in the suit are First American Bank of Virginia; officials of the DeLuca Construction Corp. and DeUca Enterprises; Donald D. McDonald, an officer of DeLuca Enterprises; Marc Bettius, a prominent Virginia zoning attorney; and Moorefield Enterprises, a limited partnership involving DeLuca Enterprises and Bettius.
The lawsuit centers on an unsuccessful $18 million transaction involving real estate in Vienna that was to be developed into town house and high-rise office complexes, according to the plaintiffs' attorney, Leslie Scherr of Washington.
The complexes were never built and "the land is still raw," Scherr said.
The trustees allege that the bank -- either negligently or in a breach of agreement -- failed to determine the value of the land, paid $3 million more for the land than it was worth, failed to notify the trustee of the borrower's default and failed to ensure that Moorefield Enterprises completed with the bank's conditions. The suit also charges that the defendants conspired to misrepresent the value of the land and that John and Marilyn DeLuca (president and secretary of DeLuca Enterprises), received nearly $170,000 for personal use.
Three courts of the original eight-court complaint, alleging violations of federal securities statutes and a breach of fiduciary responsibilities toward the plaintiffs, were dismissed by Illinois federal Judge James B. Moran.
The suit asks for $10 million in punitive damages "by means of the fradulent misrepresentations of defendants" and says the plaintiffs' total losses have not been determined. The defendants could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In May 1974, according to court documents, Moorefield Enterprises entered into a credit agreement by which the Arlington Trust Bank would loan Moorefield $18 million to acquire and develop the land for commerical and residential use. (In April 1978, Arlington trust, the Alexander National Bank and Clarendon Bank and Trust mereged to become First American Bank of Viriginia.)
To obtain money for the loan, Arlington Trust executed a loan-participation agreement with the Central, Southeast and Southwest States Pension funds of the Teamsters Union. In recent years, the Central States Pension fund has been the target of federal investigations into alleged misuse of funds and possible gangland connections.
The pension funds' trustees agreed to loan 90 percent of the total loan proceeds ($16.2 million), with the bank offering 10 percent, according to court papers.
To secure the agreement, Moorefild gave the bank and $18 million note on May 31, 1974, that was secured by a deed of trust on 95 acres of land in Fairfax County. According to Moran, "The plaintiffs' written consent was reqired before the bank could either modify, terminate or take any other action with regard to the loan."
A hearing date for the case has not been set.