DeBaene v. Chrissos, 032720 RISUP, KC-2017-960

Docket Nº:C. A. KC-2017-960
Opinion Judge:LANPHEAR, J.
Attorney:For Plaintiff: Patrick F. Dowling, Esq. For Defendant: Robert McNelis, Esq.
Case Date:March 27, 2020
Court:Superior Court of Rhode Island




C. A. No. KC-2017-960

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Kent

March 27, 2020

For Plaintiff: Patrick F. Dowling, Esq.

For Defendant: Robert McNelis, Esq.



This matter came on for hearing on a jury-waived trial in March 2020. The parties stipulated to several facts in a written stipulation.

Findings of Facts

The Court makes the following findings of facts:

Mr. DeBaene and Mr. Chrissos have known one another for over twenty years. Mr. Chrissos has often loaned Mr. DeBaene monies for various business purposes. Sometimes these loans involved collateral and professional documentation, and sometimes they were handshake agreements. The monies from Mr. Chrissos were from different accounts, including his personal account. Mr. DeBaene had acquired a mill complex on Old Flat River Road in Coventry in 1990, with about 18, 000 square feet of mill space. He later used it to operate an apparel company, a flea market, a storage company, and to store equipment.

On May 29, 2008, the parties entered into a sales agreement (Exhibit 3) for a 1978 Porsche 911SC, vehicle identification number 9118210999 (the car). Generally, the agreement was a bill of sale to Mr. Chrissos of the car from Mr. DeBaene for $2800, but Mr. DeBaene was given a right to "buy back" the car for $3000 during the following 30 days. Mr. Chrissos paid the $2800 in cash.

Within the thirty (30) days, Mr. DeBaene timely paid Mr. Chrissos the $3000 pursuant to the provisions of Exhibit 3.

In July of 2008, Mr. DeBaene considered selling the car and took it to his home to be photographed. It was posted on Craigslist, but never sold. The car was returned to the mill by Mr. DeBaene where it was kept in a large space near Mr. DeBaene's Buick automobile, Mr. Chrissos' boat, and some paving equipment owned by Rivers Paving, Inc.

In 2010 or 2011, Mr. DeBaene gave Mr. Chrissos a deed in lieu of foreclosure for the mill property, making Mr. Chrissos the owner of the property. Mr. Chrissos allowed Mr. DeBaene to continue in possession of the mill property through 2014, during which time Mr. DeBaene sold equipment and inventory and was to clean the property. In December 2014, Mr. DeBaene was locked out. He was let back into the property for a short time to clear his possessions and gave up possession by agreement in January 2015. During these few weeks Mr. DeBaene worked to remove his possessions, including the remaining inventory from the apparel company and the Buick. The car stayed in...

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