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August 9, 2013

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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Judge denies motion to unfreeze Novacon assets


By R.J. MARX

Stephen H. Baer and Vivian Mook Baer, the Bedford couple accused of bilking investors out of millions in what the New York State Attorney General’s office calls a “clean-burning coal” scam, are seeking to prove the company’s technology in a test run in the Ukraine. On Tuesday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Lawrence Marks denied the Baers a motion to vacate the state’s order against Novacon and a request to unfreeze Novacon’s assets, about $1.3 out of about $3 million received from investors. The funds were frozen by the court in 2011.

“Mr. Baer and Novacon lied to raise money from the credulous investing public with a visionary scheme,” said Thomas T. Carroll of the attorney general’s office in state supreme court on July 26.

Lawyers for the attorney general said that the Baers used $100,000 in investor funds to make a home equity loan payment on their personal residence.

“What they got in return for those lies was $3 million bucks. They spent $2 million of it. There is approximately $1.3 million left. Where is it in? Sitting in the bank accounts that we froze.”

The Baers and their attorneys said they hoped to use the funds to conduct further tests of Mr. Baer’s coal process in the Ukraine. “Novacon really needs the money,” argued lawyers for the Baers on July 26, seeking a “partial unfreeze” of $350,000.

“They are at a critical juncture in this, in their life of the entity,” said the Baers’ attorney Jonathan Greenbaum. “As we speak today the Baers are in the Ukraine for a preliminary walk-through of a large power plant, DTEK, which is the largest Ukrainian power plant and also a major exporter of electricity to the European Union. The European Union is requiring all coal-fired power plants that export to them to reduce emissions by January 2014. Novacon has a tested, provable formula that does that.”

The Baers said they hoped to begin the test within 45 to 60 days.

At the hearing, the attorney general’s office responded that unfreezing the money would only put the remaining investor funds at risk. “When this money is gone,” the attorney general lawyer’s told the judge, “there will be no way to recompense investors even partially for the fraud they have suffered.”

According to earlier documents filed by the attorney general’s office, Mr. Baer, using misleading practices and with the assistance of William “M.J.” Rifkin, is alleged to have obtained over $3 million in investments from 128 investors in Novacon.

In papers filed late last month, the state attorney general’s office denied the Baers’ claims that the scheme was concocted by their former broker, William Rifkin, now deceased.

Lawyers for the attorney general have said that the Baers used $100,000 in investor funds to make a home equity loan payment on their personal residence. “Of the approximately $3 million received from investors and deposited in Novacon’s account, the Baers used $234,000 for debit card purchases at restaurants, groceries, pet shops, video stores, jewelry stores and for various direct ACH deposits,” said the attorney general.

The attorney general’s office denied the Baers’ claims that the money from investor funds was given as gifts to potential clients, not used for themselves personally.

“As to the facts demonstrating that the Baers commingled their personal funds in Novacon and simply misappropriated for personal use some of the funds investors paid them to pursue the Novacon venture, they claim they were entitled to do so, but offer no evidence of the authority for that, or evidence that they told investors that funds were commingled and spent for personal use,” the attorney general’s office said in a July submission.

Lawyer Elizabeth Block of the attorney general’s office said in documents that Mr. Baer also misrepresented himself to investors and business associates as “Dr. Baer,” although he does not have a doctoral degree. According to Ms. Block, Mr. Baer additionally stated that he had a degree in accounting and finance from NYU, although he had never completed the requirements to acquire that degree.

Ms. Block countered Mr. Baer’s claims of having “50 outstanding contracts for its process in the United States as well as in China, Russia and Kazakhstan.”

“Yet, in a deposition at the attorney general’s office, he stated that no company had purchased Novacon’s process,” Ms. Block wrote.

The Baers and their attorneys say that shutting down Novacon will ruin the company’s chances to prove its technology. “Novacon currently has two promising business opportunities and the lack of funds will adversely affect its opportunities to bring these opportunities to fruition,” the Baers’ attorneys, Jonathan W. Greenbaum of Coburn and Greenbaum and John Markham of Markham and Read, said in earlier documents.

Mr. Greenbaum and co-counsel Mr. Markham have said in interviews and court documents that the Baers have invested millions of their own funds and “devoted their lives and their personal resources, including all of their money, to Novacon.”

The attorney general’s office will continue to seek summary judgment against the Baers in state supreme court on Nov. 22. If the judge grants this motion, the state would seek to return money to investors from the frozen funds and bar the Baers from future securities sales. As this is a civil case, there would be no criminal penalties.

If the judge denies the motion for summary judgment, the case could go to trial.


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