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A U.S. Federal Court jury has returned a verdict in favor of Grand Union Supermarkets of the Virgin Islands, a subsidiary of New York-based Red Apple Group Inc.
Deliberating for three hours after a four-day trial, the unanimous jury said Grand Union is entitled to $2.7 million from Lockhart Realty, the Virgin Island’s leading commercial real estate company.
The case took almost 10 years to go to trial. In 2001, Grand Union sued Lockhart Realty, then known as H.E. Lockhart Management Co., alleging – among other things – that Lockhart was unjustly enriched by receiving two considerations valued at $2.7 million, one in cash and the other arising from the relinquishing of Grand Union’s lease to Lockhart.
Grand Union had operated successfully in St. Thomas from 1968 until 1995, when its 23-year-old building, owned by Lockhart Realty, was completely demolished during Hurricane Marilyn.
“Although our dispute with Lockhart has taken 11 years to resolve, I did not bring the case just for money,” said John A. Catsimatidis, owner and chairman of Red Apple Group. “Instead, I wanted to be treated fairly, and was looking fair play and justice from the jury. I am very pleased with the results and the overall manner in which I was treated by the people of St. Thomas.”
Lockhart’s witnesses included newly re-elected Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh Jr., who was president of Lockhart Management at the time the dispute arose.