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September 21, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Lawsuit claims founder’s stroke was opportunity to loot Yonkers iron works business

Marco Vivanco was supposed to manage Ourem Iron Works while the boss was convalescing from a stroke, but instead, according to a lawsuit, he looted the company and diverted customers to his own businesses.

“Vivanco by his treachery crippled Ourem and cold-bloodedly enriched himself,” according to the lawsuit.

Ourem Iron Works sued Vivanco and his two companies on Aug. 13 in Westchester Supreme Court for $1 million.

Artur Viera Sr. founded Ourem in 1994, and for 19 years he managed the day-to-day operations of fabricating architectural and ornamental steel products, such as railings, fences and porches.

Image via Ourem Iron Works Facebook page.

In December 2013, according to the complaint, Viera, then 60, suffered a stroke that caused paralysis, impaired his speech and left him homebound.

He decided to sell Ourem. But Vivanco, a key employee, asked to run the business while Viera recovered, in exchange for a minority interest.

Vivanco assumed control in early 2014. He issued stock to himself, as secretary-treasurer, according to the complaint, representing 15 percent interest in the corporation.

In 2015, Vivanco formed Precision Steel of NY, using Ourem’s address on Nepperhan Avenue in Yonkers. In 2016, he incorporated Precision Steel USA.

Ourem Iron Works claims that Vivanco operated his businesses as competitors, from a location in Mount Vernon.

Vivanco allegedly mismanaged Ourem, wasted assets and breached his fiduciary duty by, for instance, failing to remit payroll taxes that resulted in a $471,654 federal tax lien.

Ourem is asking the court to compel Vivanco to account for all assets diverted from Ourem and for all profits that the Precision Steel companies generated from the diversions.

Attempts to contact Vivanco of Fishkill for his side of the story failed.

Last year, Vivanco sued Ourem in Westchester Supreme Court, stating that Ourem was about to sell its Yonkers property for $5.5 million. He wanted 15 percent.

Ourem responded that Vivanco had no direct interest in the property and he had committed wrongdoing as an officer and shareholder. The case is pending.

The property sold in July for $1.9 million.

Ourem is represented by Matthew J. Keating of Elmsford.