Local broker was not involved in loans, lawyer says

NASHUA – A local real estate broker was never involved in loans that resulted in a lawsuit against another local developer, his lawyer said Thursday.

A Florida businessman, Robert Benjamin, is suing Vatche Manoukian and Linda Haytayan in U.S. District Court, claiming the couple misappropriated over $1 million in funds that were supposed to back real estate developments in New Hampshire.

Benjamin initially had included Peter DeSantis and some of his development companies in the case, but later dropped all claims against them while the suit was pending in federal court in Florida. The case has since been transferred to U.S. District Court in Concord.

Manoukian and Haytayan argue that Benjamin’s loans were made to DeSantis, but DeSantis’ lawyer, Peter Tamposi of Nashua, said this was false. The loans in question were all documented and filed as promissory notes in the Registry of Deeds, he said.

One of DeSantis’ companies borrowed from one of Manoukian’s companies, Tamposi said, but DeSantis never had direct dealings with Benjamin, and he had no idea where Manoukian got the money he loaned to DeSantis’ firm.

“The first we knew of any default to Benjamin was the lawsuit,” Tamposi said. “We had no idea that he was the lender, or that he was getting ripped off by Manoukian.”

“Mr. DeSantis and his entities should not have been sued, and that’s why they were allowed out of the lawsuit,” Tamposi said.

Although DeSantis and his companies are no longer involved in the lawsuit, Manoukian and Haytayan argued in their own motion to dismiss the case that they were just “conduits” for loans from Benjamin to DeSantis’ firms.