Attorney: Dusty Old Cars owner tried to pay debts
NASHUA – Stephan Condodemetraky, the Bedford man facing nearly three dozen indictments accusing him of bilking scores of classic car owners through his now-defunct consignment business, scrambled to “keep his business going” in order to pay them what they were owed, his lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Bruce Kenna, one of Condodemetraky’s newer lawyers, said during Monday’s hearing that his client tried to seek suggestions and support from state law enforcement officials as he searched for the best way to square with his consigners after discovering irregularities in his accounting system.
The hearing is the latest chapter in the case that both sides agree is quite complicated and features many twists and turns. Not the least of these is the fact the 35 indictments against Condodemetraky are spread across three jurisdictions.
Monday’s hearing addressed the seven charges he faces in Hillsborough County Superior Court-South. It appears to be the first of the three cases to go to trial, with jury selection set for Jan. 22.
Meanwhile, Condodemetraky has 20 indictments pending in Merrimack County Superior Court, along with eight in Rockingham County Superior Court.
“In excess of 100 people have filed complaints with our office. There are a lot of factors in play here,” Assistant Attorney General John Garrigan told Judge Charles Temple.
Garrigan and Assistant Attorney General Gregory Albert represented the state during Monday’s hearing.
One of the matters prosecutors asked Temple to rule on is the claim that if the state is barred from introducing certain statements – which weren’t elaborated upon – the defense should also be barred from using them.
Kenna, meanwhile, refuted earlier suggestions that Condodemetraky and the state had entered negotiations to determine how he would pay the consigners what they were due.
“There were no negotiations,” Kenna said. “Mr. Condodemetraky was trying to pay off the consigners. He wasn’t negotiating with the state.”
What he was doing, Kenna said, was asking the state for guidance on the most effective way to accomplish that.
When Condodemetraky and his business decided to set up a trust fund for the purpose of paying the consigners, Kenna continued, the state allegedly stepped in.
“Then, the state ends up taking action against” Condodemetraky and the business, Kenna said. He also accused the state of contacting the consigners and telling them not to sign up to receive money through the trust fund.
Further, Kenna told the court, Condodemetraky “and his firm are not saying they’re not liable” for paying the consigners. “They recognize their liability. These people consigned their cars there, the cars were sold, and (the consigners) have money coming to them.”
“That is not disputed,” Kenna added.
It was late in summer 2016 when Condodemetraky realized “he had records problems,” and that consigners “had not been paid,” Kenna said.
Further reviews of the records determined “a significant number of people had not been paid,” he said. “There’s no dispute that a significant amount of money was owed.”
Describing the business as “doing quite well” at that time, Kenna said Condodemetraky’s priority was finding ways to “keep the business going” and “keeping it out of bankruptcy.”
By fall 2016, however, the firm was “forced into bankruptcy,” Kenna told the court. He said it’s “important to Mr. Condodemetraky that the court realizes” the steps he took to square with the consigners.
Even as the bankruptcy proceedings began, Kenna said, Condodemetraky and his associates were “trying to reorganize the business and get everyone paid.”
However, Garrigan argued that Condodemetraky “never made payments” to consigners from the trust fund.
Rather, he “continued to take money out of the account that was set up for that,” Garrigan said, referring to the trust fund.
The charges on which Condodemetraky is scheduled to go to trial in the Nashua court include six counts of theft by misapplication of property in an amount more than $1,501, and one count of the same charge in an amount between $1,001-$1,500, according to the indictments.
They accuse him of “recklessly” failing to pay seven people the net proceeds of consignment sales they were owed.
Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Telegraph_DeanS.