New Jersey’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, often referred to as the “UFTA,” is designed to protect creditors from debtors who transfer assets to avoid paying their debts. New Jersey’s Supreme Court recently issued a landmark decision on the UFTA.
In the case of Motorword, Inc. vs. William Benkendorf, et al., the New Jersey Supreme Court overturned an Appellate Division decision which had approved of the cancellation of a loan in a very fact-sensitive decision. Carol and Morton Salkind owned multiple companies, including Motorworld, Inc., Fox Development, Inc., and Giant Associates, Inc. Benk did landscaping work for Fox and Giant; Fox and Giant paid approximately $4,000,000 to Benk, but still owed about $1,000,000. Morton Salkind and Benk’s owner, William Benkendorf, were longtime friends and business associates, but Benkendorf did not expect to collect the last $1,000,000.
Benkendorf ran into trouble with the IRS and needed to resolve some payroll tax issues. He asked Morton for a loan. Morton agreed, but required that it go through Motorworld, and that the debts of Giant and Fox could not be used to offset the loan obligation. They signed the note for the loan, and Carol loaned $500,000 to Motorworld to fund the loan. Benkendorf did not pay, despite extensions and amendments, and incurred significant interest and penalties which increased the amount due to more than $1,000,000. Eventually, because of Benkendorf’s financial difficulties, Morton agreed to forgive the loan from Motorworld in exchange for Berkendorf forgiving the amounts due from Fox and Giant. So essentially the debts owed between the Salkinds’ companies and Benkendorf and his companies were mutually extinguished, which would be fine and fair – and legal – if the story ended there. (Of course, if it did the courts would have never become involved….)