Brother Pugni sues brothers for control of construction company Valhalla
A shareholder in two family-owned construction companies in Valhalla is suing his brothers to liquidate the companies.
John Pugni accused Mark, Gregory and Gary Pugni of embezzling profits from Bradhurst Site Construction Corp. and Bradhurst Equipment Corp., in an October 8 lawsuit filed in the Westchester Supreme Court.
They have “not served as guardians of corporate welfare,” the complaint says, “by embezzling corporate profits, looting company assets and siphoning off funds for personal gain.”
“At the moment,” Bradhurst Site Construction president Mark Pugni said in an email, “we have no comment.”
Bradhurst Site Construction is cleaning and digging construction sites and installing utilities, according to the complaint. Bradhurst Equipment is a holding company for construction equipment.
The companies were founded by Joseph Pugni. In 2013, the four brothers each controlled 25% of the companies, and two brothers and a sister no longer held shares.
Joseph Pugni died in 2016.
John traces the related conflict back to 2018 and the management of his father’s estate by his sister, Christine, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
John says he objected to his sister working for the company, but Mark insisted that she continue to be employed.
Then, according to the complaint, John demanded that his brothers redeem him.
He claims he was off work for about six months in 2018, after a construction project was completed, and then Mark banned him from returning to work in 2019.
John says he has repeatedly requested a shareholder meeting to discuss his buyout and job status, but no meeting has taken place and no buyback has been proposed.
He is treasurer of both companies, the complaint said, but was denied access to financial records.
John accuses his brothers of engaging in transactions that have no legitimate business purpose. For example, Mark would have loaned himself $ 55,000 in business funds to purchase a personal vehicle; transferred $ 1.3 million to an investment account at a company that employs his wife to promote her career; used $ 25,000 to $ 30,000 per year in corporate funds for personal Knollwood Country Club membership; and uses corporate credit cards for personal dining and entertainment expenses.
Bradhurst Site Construction generated more than $ 5 million in revenue in 2019, the complaint says, and John’s brothers each received nearly $ 300,000, including bonuses of $ 160,000 to $ 180,000 to deflate profits and “prevent John from receiving any share of the profits”.
Since 2018, says John, his brothers have refused to give him tax returns or K-1 partnership forms.
John claims his brothers wasted company assets, converted funds, and breached their fiduciary duties. He asks the court to oblige them to buy back his stake, to appoint a receiver to preserve the assets, to order an accounting of the companies and to dissolve and liquidate the companies.
He is represented by Hawthorne attorney Mark A. Rubeo Jr.