Court Orders Warrant for Arrest of Attorney for Contempt

, New York Law Journal

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After holding defendants in a property dispute in civil and criminal contempt, a Manhattan judge has ordered a bench warrant for the arrest of defense attorney Robert Del Gadio unless he delivers a "sincere apology" to the court and his adversaries and pays thousands of dollars in sanctions and fees.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Melvin Schweitzer (See Profile) said Del Gadio, a Nassau County attorney, has repeatedly defied court orders and failed to appear at a hearing on a contempt motion.

"These violations, especially considering Del Gadio's past contumacious conduct, overwhelmingly prove criminal contempt. They also prove civil contempt," Schweitzer said.

The case involves possession of about 20 gas stations in the greater metropolitan area.

The landlord, Getty Properties Corp., had leased hundreds of gas station sites to Getty Petroleum Marketing Inc., which in turn subleased about 20 of the sites to limited liability companies controlled by Del Gadio, said Warren Estis of Rosenberg & Estis, who represents Getty Properties. Estis said Del Gadio managed the LLCs himself.

Del Gadio guaranteed payment under many of the subleases, according to court documents.

The dispute arose after Getty Petroleum filed for bankruptcy and the leases were terminated. The LLCs were ordered to vacate the sites in April 2012, but they failed to turn over possession to Getty Properties, which sued the LLCs and Del Gadio to gain possession and obtain damages for use and occupancy of the sites. Del Gadio is representing himself and the LLC defendants.

The landlord sought, and the court issued, a temporary restraining order requiring the LLCs to place into court whatever money they had collected for rent after May 1, 2012, from the sites' gas station operators, Estis said.

After the tenants were held liable to the landlord for use and occupancy damages totaling $434,233, the judge said Del Gadio failed to comply with multiple court orders directing his clients to pay the full amount.

Del Gadio failed to produce bank statements and "has inundated the court with a plethora of motions, claims and arguments with no legitimate basis in fact or law which simply has served to clog the court's calendar," the judge said.

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