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Mayview Hospital project spurs suit

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Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A former demolition project manager is suing the owners of the Mayview State Hospital site because he wants more than $600,000 from the sale of scrap metal, other assets and TV show filming rights — plus what he could have made when the land is sold and redeveloped.

Dennis Regan, who oversaw demolition of the 39 hospital buildings on the 178-acre campus in South Fayette, filed a lawsuit this month against Duquesne Heights-based Aloe Brothers LLC and brothers Mark and David Aloe in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. He said he was fired as of the end of November.

“All of a sudden, they decided to try and cut me out of the deal,” said Regan, 61, of Point Breeze. “I put them in the deal.”

Jeffrey Olup, an attorney the lawsuit said was working for the company at the time of Regan's hiring, said he would not comment on pending litigation, nor would he say whether he was representing the company in Regan's suit. Aloe Brothers representatives couldn't be reached for comment.

Regan, who works as a real estate consultant, was a member of Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor's administration. Luke Ravenstahl retained Regan as operations director when Ravenstahl became mayor upon O'Connor's death in 2006.

He was nominated to become Ravenstahl's public safety director in 2006, but was accused of using his position to quash disciplinary action against a police detective. Regan was cleared of wrongdoing, but resigned anyway.

Regan said he tipped off Aloe Brothers when he heard the state was going to seek buyers for the Mayview property, helped them put together the bid package, then worked with state lawmakers on legislation authorizing the hospital's sale.

After that, he said, he was retained as project manager to oversee clearing the property and preparing it for redevelopment.

Regan claims in the lawsuit he was supposed to get $5,000 a month, plus 5 percent of any proceeds from the sale of assets on the property.

After the company made back the $505,000 it spent to acquire the site from the state in 2010, Regan's share was to increase to 10 percent from the sale of any assets.

Regan is seeking “anticipatory damages,” such as $430,000 from an anticipated deal with Radnor-based Traditions of America to develop senior housing on part of the property. Another part of the site was to be sold to South Fayette, to expand a park.

David Biddison, partner with Traditions of America, said his company hadn't entered into an agreement with Aloe Brothers, but was looking around the Pittsburgh region for opportunities. The company already operates senior living communities in Economy and Ohio Township.

Aloe Brothers broke even on the Mayview purchase in July 2011, Regan's suit said. In the time he was manager, the company sold off assets including:

• $40,000 for timber cut on the land;

• $56,000 for fill dirt, used in the construction of Target and Dick's Sporting Goods stores at South Hills Village;

• $999,500 for two water tanks sold to Pennsylvania American Water, which refurbished the tanks, and uses them in its water distribution system;

• $1.74 million worth of scrap materials from demolition of the buildings;

• $60,000 from leasing part of the property for the production of the pilot episode of the TV series “Those Who Kill.”

Regan's 10 percent share of those profits would have been $289,550, he said, but the company paid him only $27,987.

He is seeking $200,000 to $500,000 he claims he would have gotten from the sale of coal beneath the site, if Aloe Brothers had obtained permission from the state and township to remove it, and if he hadn't been fired from his position.

The coal mining plans remain in limbo, after the South Fayette Zoning Hearing Board rejected the company's application for exemptions from zoning restrictions that prohibit mining under the property's current zoning. Attorney Bill Sittig, representing Aloe Brothers in the zoning case, said he recommended that the company appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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