Sellers of ESL real estate claim Cohn never paid for transactions

Ann Knef Mar. 24, 2008, 9:50am

Sellers of East St. Louis real estate filed suit against Philip H. Cohn and Cohn Holding Co. in St. Clair County Circuit Court claiming they were never paid for transactions that took place in 2001.

William Moore, Addie Thornton and Janis Alexander filed a complaint March 19 against Cohn and his company seeking a judgment for their properties' purchase price, interest, costs and attorneys' fees.

Cohn is currently serving a 60-month sentence at the Millington Federal Prison Camp in Millington, Tenn.

In May 2005, he was sentenced to prison and five years supervised release on mail fraud, money laundering and environmental crimes.

Moore claims he was not paid $120,000 for real estate the defendants took possession of on Oct. 2, 2001.

Alexander also claims she is owed $120,000 for property she delivered to defendants on Aug. 4, 2001.

Thornton claims she is owed $69,900 for property she sold to defendants on Sept. 21, 2001.

According to federal court documents, Cohn also was ordered to pay $347,200 in restitution to East St. Louis School District 189.

He pled guilty to submitting false invoices to the school district purportedly for environmental cleanup work at the Clark Middle School site.

On the environmental Clean Air Act charge, Cohn failed to remove substantial quantities of known asbestos - containing materials from the historic Spivey Building in East St. Louis, before sending work crews into the building to conduct demolition and renovation work.

He then caused the endorsements of environmental companies to be forged on checks issued from an escrow account and used the money - approximately $350,000 - for personal expenses.

As part of his plea agreement, Cohn agreed to make full restitution to School District 189.

The plaintiffs are represented by Paul T. Slocomb of Hoffman & Slocomb of St. Louis and John A. Vassen of Belleville.

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