The business partners of former Baltimore Ravens player Michael McCrary have been ordered to pay him $33.6 million for secretly keeping millions of dollars in insurance proceeds from a New Orleans condominium project.
Visiting Judge Paul Alpert made the award in Baltimore City Circuit Court after the trial Wednesday.
The award includes more than $15.8 million in compensatory damages, the same amount in punitive damages and $1.9 million in prejudgment interest.
McCrary said the judgment “feels refreshing.”
“I’ve been dealing with this for about a year and a half and to have the court see through all the fog and the smoke that was put up … was gratifying,” he said. “It makes a strong statement to my ex-partners that they can’t get away from this and hopefully will prevent them from defrauding anybody in the future.”
McCrary’s version of the story was not challenged because all the defendants to his fraud suit had defaulted, been held in contempt, or been precluded from participating.
The trial consisted mostly of McCrary’s lawyer Kenneth B. Frank’s PowerPoint presentation about the proposed deal, a conversion of a 45-story office building into condominiums called Crescent City Estates. McCrary invested a total of $3.5 million in exchange for a half-interest in the property. Instead, when the property was sold, he recouped his investment and more than $2 million.
The trial took an unexpected turn during a break, when McCrary received an call on his cell phone from the ex-wife of Edward V. Giannasca II, McCrary’s former business partner and a defendant in the lawsuit.
Suzanne Giannasca, later talking on the courtroom’s speaker phone, claimed Edward Giannasca was going to leave the country with the couple’s three children.
Under questioning from Alpert and William H. “Billy” Murphy Jr., another of McCrary’s lawyers, she said her ex-husband, who has joint custody of the children, has acted the same way in the past when he “gets close to being caught.”
Frank then continued to describe the ways by which Edward Giannasca and his associate, Stuart C. “Neil” Fisher, hid $12 million in insurance proceeds paid to Crescent City Estates LLC after Hurricane Katrina ruined the development plan.
Frank said Wednesday’s judgment will be satisfied.
“As you recall, I said I’ve got some surprises, and I do,” he said. “This money will be collected.”
Giannasca did not return phone calls from The (Baltimore) Daily Record to his home, his Reading, Pa., office number, or his Manhattan office.
Information from: The (Baltimore) Daily Record
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