Copley High basketball coach Mark Dente sued by private investors

A winning basketball coach with a national house-flipping company is now without a coaching contract as private investors, including a fellow Copley High School coach, accuse him of defaulting on millions of dollars in loans .

The high school principal and athletic director of Copley-Fairlawn Told the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams on Friday that Mark Dente would not return this year as varsity coach.

Superintendent Brian Poe told The Beacon Journal on Monday that Dente is the only coach he knows of who won’t be returning this year.

Dente led the women’s team to a division title this year and the boys to victory in 2018.

Asked about the decision not to renew Dente’s contract, Poe said, “The district is moving in a different direction for the boys’ and girls’ programs next year.”

Poe noted that Dente is no longer an employee of the district. The superintendent would not comment on Dente’s alleged failure to repay investors, including head football coach Wally Senk, who also teaches sixth grade in the district.

Senk and three other men sued in Summit County Common Pleas Court this month seeking a total of nearly $7 million in outstanding loans issued since November to Dente and his real estate business, AEM Services LLC.

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Dente, his company and his attorney in at least one of the lawsuits did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment. Senk also did not return a phone call on Monday.

According to promissory notes issued to investors and listed with the court cases, Senk owes $499,832, which includes two loans plus Dente’s promise to repay them in a few months at a “profit.”

The promised yield on short-term cash loans ranged from 9% on a $4.5 million loan by Darrel Seibert II, owner of Seibert Enterprises in Twinsburg, to 24% promised to Jeffrey Wallace of New London, Ohio. Wallace gave Dente $459,000 in a series of loans in November and December and was promised that plus $106,000 in profit when the last loan came due in January, according to the lawsuit.

A third New York investor, Elliot Melis, says he owes her $675,000, according to his lawsuit.

According to the contracts, investors had to wait 30 to 100 days while the loans remained in default before demanding full payment and filing their individual lawsuits.

“My understanding is that people would invest him or loan him money – different words can be used. But he was going to use those (funds) to buy and flip houses,” attorney Kyle Shelton said, which represents Senk in the half million. -Dollar lawsuit. “And I don’t fully know the details of what he was explaining to people, but he was giving them these notes, which promised the return of the principal that they had invested and what he called profit.”

Shelton said he had been approached by other investors who were also considering suing Dente over outstanding loans.

“For some reason I don’t know, he stopped paying them,” said Shelton, who began asking for documents that would shed more light on what Dente did with the millions of dollars he raised in the framework. recent loans.

“I don’t know what this will reveal,” Shelton said. “We have requested a review of the debtor, on which the court has not yet ruled. Who knows what this will give.”

Mark Dente’s business, legal history

Dente, a 1989 Copley graduate, began renovating and reselling homes in the late 1990s, according to his Company Website and state commercial documents.

He has coached Copley’s men’s basketball program since 2010 and girls’ since January 2017. Previously an assistant coach, he also worked with the Copley Athletic Association’s youth basketball program.

Between 2008 and 2010, financial institutions and banks filed more than 80 lawsuits against Dente and his companies amid a nationwide housing crisis that cost many people their homes.

In 2012, the Ohio Department of Taxation put a lien on Dente and his wife for $15,000 in unpaid taxes associated with six properties in Akron and one in Barberton.

Foreclosure cases declined and a new breed of lawsuits began to hit Dente as traditional lenders came to claim outstanding debt.

PNC Bank won a lien judgment for $10,826.20 in 2016. In 2018, Huntington Bank sought and ultimately received $58,098.96. In 2019, the bank said it was due due to Dente not repaying a loan. A judge put a lien on Dente and his company Landmark Property Development LTD. The Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB, came after Dente in 2019 for a $14,955 loan with interest over $26,000.

The most recent lawsuits were brought by private lenders, not banks, who say they lent money to Dente to fuel his wholesale real estate business. Dente would buy and flip houses using the cash injection from investors, who were promised huge profits for two months’ loan.

According to an investor familiar with Dente’s business, AEM Services LLC sometimes lined up buyers and sellers, earning thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on deals without ever taking possession of renovated and flipped properties.

AEM Services currently has active wholesale real estate Advertisement in Ohio, Missouri, Texas, Nevada and Alabama.

Concerns about rollover, permits, repairs, disclosures

During the pandemic, Ohio homebuyers have accused Dente and his company of failing to obtain building permits, making adequate repairs or disclosing issues such as water damage in homes. which he sold to them.

In June 2020, a Buyer paid $187,000 to AEM Services for an 1,852-square-foot single-family Colonial home on Tolland Road in Shaker Heights. As in the other cases, Dente used his son as a listing agent.

The deal included a disclosure by Dente that the property had no current or prior major water damage, according to Cuyahoga County court documents. But the basement flooded and the roof leaked less than three months after buying the home, according to a lawsuit the new owner filed in June 2021 alleging breach of contract, negligence, fraudulent concealment and more.

Months after the purchase, the buyer asked Dente to carry out the necessary repairs. That’s when the buyer said Dente and his company admitted to not sealing wet spots in the basement or inspecting the main roof. For the first time, Dente revealed he fired the window installer for substandard work, the new owner alleged in the lawsuit.

The case has been settled out of court in March for an undisclosed amount. Dente, his company and his son’s employer split the legal costs, according to a judge’s entry.

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A married couple in Cincinnati filed a complaint last week alleging that Dente and his company failed to obtain city permits, have the work inspected, or apply for an occupancy permit after the work was completed “in a substandard and negligent manner” , according to the lawsuit filed by the couple who purchased the overturned property.

After the purchase, the couple said they “suffered from illness” due to possible exposure to carbon monoxide caused by poor venting from a water heater in the basement. Some of the plumbing is out of code, the couple said in their lawsuit, which alleges Dente and his company “knowingly misled” or failed to disclose issues before the sale.

A third lawsuit in Summit County is set to mediate next month. According to the case, AEM lined up a buyer willing to pay $345,000 in May 2020 for a home flipped by Dente and his company.

Since the purchase, the new owner says she learned that the previous owner told Dente that the septic tank was backing up in the basement, that the roof was leaking and had collapsed at some point, that there had water damage in the walls and ceilings and that the taxes were lower. than normal because the property was vacant and classified as uninhabitable. Dente bought the property with ankle-deep water in the basement, according to the lawsuit.

The new owner said Dente didn’t divulge any of this. Since buying the property, she and her teenage daughter have been sick and hospitalized after drinking contaminated water from the well.

Contact reporter Doug Livingston at [email protected] or 330-996-3792.

Robert D. Coleman