A 157-unit condominium complex in Westchester County, NY, is fighting with the roofing contractor firm hired for a reroof of its 15 buildings in the hamlet of Hartsdale, located in Greenburgh, a commuter suburb of New York City, at a cost of $3.7 million. 

According to reporting by the Westfair Business Journal, The Colony, a collection of 15 low- and mid-rise apartment buildings built in the late 1960s, fired the firm it hired, C.M.V. Company Inc., last June. The condo board subsequently filed an emergency action in Westchester Supreme Court to prevent the concern and its principal, Christopher M. Verrone, from “…absconding with nearly $700,000 of the Condo community’s money.”

Apartments at The Colony range in size from 1,225-2,000-plus square feet and, according to several listings on RE/MAX, range in price from $399,000 to nearly $600,000, averaging about $300 per square foot.

The condominium association had been spending about $200,000 a year to repair roofs, board member Joseph Morelli stated in an affidavit. C.M.V., which had been repairing and maintaining the half-century-old buildings’ roofs since 2019, submitted a bid for the reroofing project. In 2021, the board committed to a reroof plan, and in May 2022, The Colony officially hired C.M.V. 

Verrone’s firm reportedly submitted the lowest bid and offered the best warranty, for 30 years, out of the various roofing contractors vetted for the job. The Colony secured a loan of $3.7 million to fund the renovation. 

In December 2022, the condo association said C.M.V. requested $686,500 for purchasing roofing materials, and the board issued the check in January 2023. The condo board asserts that no materials have been purchased, and Verrone has refused to return the funds.

Condo board member Morelli also claims that C.M.V.'s warranty “was worthless.” The Westfair Business Journal reported the contract excluded “…damages caused by winds greater than 55 miles per hour,” and according to the condominium’s attorney, Nancy Durand, it “…was supposed to be from a reputable roofing manufacturer but instead was from an entity formed by defendants just two years earlier.”

According to Durand, the Colony fired C.M.V. on June 22, partly for fabricating a warranty. Four days later, C.M.V. sent an invoice to The Colony for $989,546 for “completed work.”

In an affidavit, property manager Eric Schmidt of Stillman Management Realty Group stated that C.M.V.’s charges are either outright false or grossly inflated. “No roofing work was performed or could have been performed because C.M.V. never ordered any materials and … no materials were delivered to the property,” Schmidt told the newspaper.

The Colony at Hatsdale_pool.jpgSchmidt concedes that Verrone completed work on the property’s community pool deck. Still, the invoice C.M.V. submitted to the condo association for $197,677 was so demonstrably out of league with the job’s actual cost — the highest bid the condo board received for the project was $26,000 — that it strains credulity. 

Furthermore, Verrone's interim roof repairs between May 2022 and June 2023 were billed for $159,713; Schmidt stated those repairs are worth no more than $71,000. 

“The most C.M.V. could credibly claim to be owed is $97,000, far below the $1 million windfall C.M.V. hopes to realize,” Schmidt said.

According to Verrone’s attorney, Christopher Riley, his client considers The Colony’s allegations “scurrilous” and told the court his client is holding the money in an escrow account until the issue between the parties is resolved.

“C.M.V. provided work, labor and services for which they are due recompense,” Riley said in an email response to the Westfair Business Journal. 

The Colony’s statements “were all untrue,” he wrote, “no one tried to abscond with anything,” and the stipulation reflects that The Colony “owes my client monies for work performed.”

If the condominium files a formal complaint, he added, “You can be certain there will be a counterclaim.”

On July 26, Justice Hal B. Greenwald of Westchester County Supreme Court approved a stipulation, signed by attorneys for both sides, that endorses Riley’s request to continue holding the funds and not to move them unless ordered by the court.

Morelli said in his affidavit that The Colony has reopened bidding for the roofing project, “and now we are right back at square one, making incremental repairs.”