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Westmoreland Brewery owners awarded $180,000

| Friday, March 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Westmoreland County jury has awarded Red Star Brewing Co. Inc. and others $180,000 in a dispute with the Westmoreland Cultural Trust over the business' 2009 ouster from the historic Train Station in Greensburg.

The jury rendered its verdict Wednesday night after a three-day trial before Judge Anthony Marsili.

The panel further decided Red Star and others affiliated with the business should pay $2,986 for a counterclaim the Trust filed, mostly over fees.

The Trust owns the train station and had been Red Star's landlord for approximately 12 years.

The brewery and restaurant, operating partners Ernie Vallozzi and Albert Spinelli, and other investors claimed in their suit they were wrongfully forced out of the train station by Trust President Michael Langer in favor of The Supper Club, the current tenant.

Red Star and its investors said they suffered financial losses because they needed to liquidate assets quickly, according to the suit filed in 2010.

“I am very happy with the decision,” Vallozzi said on Thursday. “Obviously, they saw the case correctly, I believe.”

A prepared statement from Langer said neither he nor the Trust did anything wrong.

“The Trust is not in agreement and is very disappointed in the jury's decision,” Langer said in the statement.

“We deny any and all wrongdoing in this matter. From here, our insurance company and their attorneys will decide if there are any further steps to be pursued,” he said.

Langer declined further comment, citing advice of legal counsel.

During the trial, Red Star presented evidence that the business was worth $500,000. Red Star argued that brewing equipment it was forced to sell quickly for $80,000 was worth between $280,000 and $300,000.

Red Star attorney Bernard P. Matthews Jr., who said the jury did not explain the reasons for its award, called the jury's decision “appropriate.”

In their suit, Red Star and others accused the Trust and its representatives of breach of contract, failure to operate in good faith and negligent misrepresentation.

At the time of the ouster, Red Star was looking to renew a lease with the Trust.

The suit listed Spinelli, Ernie and Carol Vallozzi, Paul and Colleen Imbrogno, Rob and Virginia Tuscano, John and Mary Louise Sirianni, Gary and Eileen Plundo, Jack and Georgia Smith, Ted Dorfman, Dale Cordial and Harry Kenney as limited partners.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622.

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