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Date of Issue: June 01, 2006

Nine may not be enough as GSR faces more lawsuits

Already facing six separate lawsuits filed against it since February, financially and legally troubled GSR Development LLC was hit last week with three more civil actions, in addition to seven liens against projects in which either the company or GSR principal Robert Byrne is involved.

 On May 19, Chief Management Inc. of Cortez jumped into the battle to get paid by GSR, developers of the Villa Rosa subdivision in Anna Maria, filing a lawsuit claiming the company owed it $268,000 after it failed to pay a promissory note for a second mortgage for property at 401 S. Bay Blvd. in Anna Maria. The suit alleges that GSR principals Byrne and Steve Noriega gave personal guarantees for the loan.

Further complicating the GSR legal troubles, Holmes Beach resident Cynthia Graeff filed a legal action on May 23 against GSR, alleging the company owes her $29,500 for a loan she gave GSR on Oct. 21, 2004. Byrne and Noriega personally guaranteed the loan, the suit claims.

Just two days later, on May 25, JD Paradise LLC joined the fray with a mortgage foreclosure action for $384,211 against GSR for property at 518 Key Royale Drive in Holmes Beach.

According to the Florida Secretary of State Web site, JD Paradise LLC is owned by James and Debbie Bangma of 535 Key Royale Drive.

In addition to the Chief Management lawsuit, the Graeff action and the JD Paradise forelosure, the once- promising real estate world of GSR Development LLC already faces:

  • A mortgage foreclosure action for $2.1 million by Synovus Bank of Tampa for the Hibiscus condominium project on Fifth Street South in Bradenton Beach.
  • A lawsuit filed by Sherry Gray of Bradenton for $67,500.
  • An action by Longboat Partners LLC for default on an $800,000 note.
  • Legal action by Ed Furfey of New Jersey against Byrne and Noriega for an undisclosed sum.
  • A lawsuit filed by James M. Dornan, as trustee of the Dornan Family Trust, for a $100,000 deposit on the now stagnant Rosa del Mar condominium project in Bradenton Beach.
  • A suit filed by Randy Moore, also for a $100,000 deposit on a Rosa del Mar condominium.

The value of all the lawsuits against GSR, Byrne and Noriega totals some $3.8 million, exclusive of $1.06 million in liens against GSR/Byrne properties (see separate story) and the unspecified amount in the Furfey case.

A high-level source close to one of the legal actions said he would not be surprised if more suits were filed against the company in the very near future.

"I also understand they have a potential buyer for Villa Rosa, but he's not going to get involved until all the lawsuits are cleared up," said the source, who asked not to be identified.

Efforts to reach Byrne and Noriega for comment were unsuccessful.


GSR contractor owed more than $1 million

While GSR is facing a slew of legal actions, Spectrum Management Inc. of Tampa has halted all work on four Byrne/GSR projects in Holmes Beach, two in Bradenton Beach and one in Anna Maria and terminated its building permits, according to the respective building departments.

But Spectrum wasn't content to just pull its permits on Byrne and GSR. On May 19, company president Paul Gallizzi filed seven liens totaling more than $1 million in Manatee County Circuit Court against Byrne/GSR projects, money the company claims it is owed for work performed.

The liens are against a number of GSR/Byrne Island projects, including:

  • The Villa Rosa model home at 523 Villa Rosa Way in Anna Maria.
  • 110 Seventh St. S. in Bradenton Beach.
  • 112 Seventh St. S. in Bradenton Beach.
  • 109 Fifth St. S. in Bradenton Beach.
  • 208 56th St. in Holmes Beach.
  • 407 74th St. in Holmes Beach.
  • 312 60th St. in Holmes Beach.
  • 518 Key Royale Drive in Holmes Beach.

The liens total $1.073 million and none of the properties can be sold until the liens are satisfied. According to the lien documents, the total value of all work Spectrum did for Byrne/GSR on these properties was $4.65 million.

But Spectrum's troubles are not just with GSR and its principals.

Several sub-contractors have filed liens against Spectrum because they haven't been paid by that company, although Gallizzi said he paid one sub-contractor out of his own pocket.

"I really don't want to comment further at this time," he said. "I hope everything works out and I get paid and I wish GSR well."

In Bradenton Beach, the building department has declared building permits on two GSR projects in that city as "null and void" and is requiring new permit applications for 110 Seventh St. S. and 112 Seventh St. S. The department had previously repealed the company's building permit for the Rosa del Mar condominium project on Gulf Drive.