Judge Dismisses Chill Can’s Counterclaim in Foreclosure Case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A Mahoning County Common Pleas Court has dismissed an amended cross claim and counterclaim filed by M.J. Joseph Corp. in October that said it held a first security interest on land that is now the subject of a foreclosure case.

Judge John Durkin on Friday ordered that MS Consultants Inc.’s motion to dismiss the claim, joined by the city of Youngstown, is sustained.

MS Consultants, an engineering firm based in Columbus but with offices in Youngstown, filed a foreclosure action in July 2023 against M.J. Joseph to force the sale of land and buildings at the site of the stalled Chill Can project.

A court awarded the firm $322,907.54 in a lawsuit MS Consultants filed in January for what the company said were unpaid balances on work it performed for Joseph Development at the stalled Chill Can site. The matter is now under appeal. These debts remain unpaid, and the proceeds of the property’s sale would go to lien holders.

A second party, Columbus-area Richard Briskey, has also joined the foreclosure case. Last year, a Franklin County Court awarded Briskey more than $2.5 million against M.J. Joseph Development, which remains unpaid, according to court documents.

In December, Joseph’s attorneys, Brian Kopp and Justin Markota, withdrew from both the foreclosure case and the case before the 7th District Court of Appeals. There is currently no attorney of record representing Joseph for either case.

The city of Youngstown, which is also embroiled in a legal matter with Joseph Development, had earlier joined the motion to dismiss.

In November 2022, Judge Maureen Sweeney upheld an earlier ruling by Magistrate Dennis Sarisky that ordered that California-based Joseph Development to repay the city a $1.5 million development grant it awarded the developer in 2017. In July 2023, the court also awarded the city another $733,480 in sanctions related to the stalled project. 

Kopp and Markota are still listed as the attorneys of record in that case.

In 2016, Joseph Development CEO Mitchell Joseph announced his intention to build a 22-acre campus for research on self-chilling technology and a production site for the world’s first self-chilling can. The project promised to create more than 230 jobs. Three empty buildings sit at the site, and no cans have been produced and the company had earlier reported a single employee associated with the project.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.