| March 8
March 8 A federal appeals court said billionaire
Ira Rennert must pay a $213.2 million judgment after a jury
found him liable for looting his now-defunct magnesium company
to build one of the country's most expensive homes, a 21-bedroom
mansion in New York's Hamptons.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday let stand
a jury verdict against the mining mogul and his holding company
Renco Group Inc, and won by a trustee liquidating the bankrupt
Magnesium Corp of America, known as MagCorp.
It rejected Rennert's argument that the jury rendered an
"irrational" verdict by awarding damages despite believing
MagCorp was solvent at all relevant times.
Rennert belatedly challenged whether the verdict was
internally inconsistent, and "cannot pursue a compromise-verdict
claim because that would sneak a waived inconsistency claim in
through the back door," the Manhattan-based appeals court said.
The court also rejected Rennert's argument that the trustee
was not entitled to a jury trial, and that the trial judge made
Lawyers for Rennert did not immediately respond to requests
for comment. Lee Buchwald, the MagCorp trustee, was not
immediately available for comment.
Rennert, 82, is worth $4.1 billion, Forbes magazine said.
Jurors had in February 2015 found Rennert and Renco liable
for $118 million to the bankruptcy estate of MagCorp, which had
sought protection from creditors in 2001. The trial judge, U.S.
District Judge Alison Nathan, later added interest.
Buchwald had contended that Rennert diverted money from
MagCorp to help build his estimated 43,000-square-foot mansion,
known as Fair Field, on 65 oceanfront acres in Sagaponack, on
New York's Long Island.
Rennert denied that allegation. The property was valued last
March at $248.5 million, according to the Town of Southampton
Last March, Renco agreed to pay in full the pensions of
about 1,350 retirees at its bankrupt RG Steel unit. That ended a
lawsuit in which the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp accused
Renco of trying to evade $70 million of obligations.
The case is Buchwald v Renco Group Inc et al, 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 15-2671, 15-2962, 15-2971.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris