A Chicago equity firm is seeking to recover millions it claims to have lost in what it alleges was a an intricate asset-shifting scheme designed by a commercial developer to maintain a posh lifestyle.
Venture Equities Management filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court based on the actions of David Bossy, a longtime commercial real estate broker and developer of multiple Chicago area shopping centers and other projects.
According to Venture, a market crash left Bossy facing a potential bankruptcy and the inability to repay millions of dollars in loans. Doing so, the suit alleges, “would have likely prevented David from continuing in the lavish lifestyle he had become accustomed to. (David resides in a stately home in a posh suburb, he and his wife drive luxury vehicles, own vacation property and take frequent trips to locations such as Aspen and Italy.)”
Instead, Venture claims, Bossy, “with the advice, assistance and active participation” of the named defendants — James Zakos, King Financial Services, Allen Shapiro, Fisher Cohen Waldman Shapiro, S-K Associates, Mid-America Development Properties, Park Avenue Interests and his wife, Deborah Bossy — launched what Venture calls the “Bossy Asset Containment Scheme” to keep his personal wealth away from creditors.
The basic approach was to transfer many of David Bossy’s assets to his wife, create false financial statements “purporting to lien all of David’s remaining assets and income” and creating several limited liability corporations in his wife’s name so David Bossy could further shield his assets while claiming to have ownership.
As the first of Bossy’s creditors to obtain a judgment against him — an $11,271,510 ruling in December 2010 — and serve a citation to discover assets, Venture asserts it holds a perfected lien on all of Bossy’s personal property. Yet the “Bossy Asset Concealment Scheme,” as Venture so named Bossy’s alleged conspiracy, kept Venture from accessing his assets.
Shapiro is David Bossy’s attorney. He is a partner of Fisher Cohen, as well as of S-K Associations, an asset protection, consulting and restructuring firm. Deborah Bossy is named as owner and manager of both Mid-America Development Properties and Park Avenue Interests, but Venture asserts David Bossy actually controls the entities.
Zakos is a Bossy business associate and the sole member of King Financial, a firm Venture says Zakos started solely to become a “purported creditor” of Bossy as part of the scheme. Venture alleges Bossy himself was using his own money to fund the King line of credit, then claiming King superseded Venture’s claim to Bossy’s assets.
Further, King allegedly acquired loans for which Bossy was obligated — one at $2.5 million and another at $15 million — though neither Zakos nor King allegedly have been able to identify or produce assignment documentation executed by the previous loan holders. Venture’s complaint cites testimony from Zakos stating he doesn’t know about or hadn’t seen the loan paperwork.
In detailing several ways in which Bossy, with the help of the defendants, shuffled assets to avoid paying creditors, Venture asserts Bossy “has received distributions representing at least 93 separate payments totaling $1,542,449 which were made to David in connection with his ownership interest in 12 entities which have not been turned over” to Venture, which should have happened as part of the judgment.
In requesting a trial, Venture wants Bossy to be required to repay his entire debt. It seeks at least $1.5 million from Shapiro, Fisher Cohen and S-K Associates; another $1.5 million from Zakos and King; yet another $1.5 million from Deborah Bossy, Mid-America Properties and Park Avenue Interests; and all assets transferred to Deborah Bossy.
Venture Equities Management is represented by Daniel Lynch, Amy J. Hansen and Mindy S. Schwab, of Lynch Stern Thompson, of Chicago.