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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Siblings fight over operation of family's Mechanicville furniture business

Siblings fight over operation of family's Mechanicville furniture business

Carol Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena are suing Bernard DiSiena in state Supreme Court in Saratoga Cou

The three siblings who own DiSiena Furniture are fighting over operations at the Mechanicville business.

Carol Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena are suing Bernard DiSiena in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County, alleging he breached his fiduciary duties to DiSiena Associates by locking up accounting and payroll information and not letting them see it, behaving inappropriately and unprofessionally at the business and falsely accusing his siblings of wrongdoing.

They also say he showed up to work in the afternoon for only a few hours each day and refused to train anyone other than his wife to do the bookkeeping.

The three siblings own equal shares of Class A stock in the business as managers, but Bernard DiSiena “has maintained exclusive and secretive control over the business’ finances, depriving Carol Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena of information necessary to run the business,” the lawsuit says.

Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena are co-CEOs overseeing day-to-day operations. Bernard DiSiena was in charge of accounts payable, truck and property maintenance and paying sales tax until his siblings fired him Nov. 29, the same day the lawsuit was filed.

They also fired his wife, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. She was employed as the bookkeeper.

Bernard DiSiena still holds equal management in the company because of the stock ownership. The company’s ownership is private, with the three siblings and their late mother, Angela DiSiena, owning all of the stock.

Angela DiSiena died in 2010 and her interest in the company is being hashed out in Saratoga County Surrogate’s Court, according to the lawsuit.

Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena reported having issues with Bernard DiSiena starting in April, when they first held a special meeting to talk about invoices being locked inside his office, which they said made conducting business difficult when vendors called to ask about unpaid bills.

The two siblings also allege that their brother has made damaging comments about the business, rebuked an employee for leaving financial receipts on his sister’s desk instead of giving them to him, and shared proprietary information with his other brother, Mario DiSiena, who operates a competing business in Malta.

The company’s bylaws require the financial records to be available in the main office, according to the suit. Bernard DiSiena is accused of first locking the books in his office at the store, then moving them to a DiSiena warehouse and finally somewhere off-site.

He also allegedly accused Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena of taking money from the business, an accusation they called false.

In meetings the two siblings called to talk to Bernard about the issues, he said “No comment” in response to many of their questions, they allege in the suit, including requests for passwords to bank accounts, their proposal to hire an additional bookkeeper and their suggestion that office doors be left unlocked.

A woman who answered the phone Thursday at Bernard DiSiena’s home declined comment on the lawsuit.

The attorney for Carol Zappone and Salvadore DiSiena, Thomas Fallati, declined to comment beyond what was written in the complaint.

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