CHARLES A. KNOLL Appellant
EUSTACE O. UKU, YALE DEVELOPMENT & CONTRACTING, INC. AND EXICO, INC. Appellee
from the Order Entered July 2, 2015 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Allegheny County Civil Division at No(s): G.D.
BEFORE: BOWES, STABILE AND MUSMANNO, JJ.
A. Knoll, Jr. appeals from the July 2, 2015 order denying his
petition for supplementary relief in aid of execution. We
following pertinent facts were contained in this Court's
memorandum addressing the direct appeal in this litigation:
In 2004, Uku and Knoll created Yale, a construction company,
which worked on various projects, including The Meadows
Racetrack and Casino ("Meadows"), the
Carpenter's Training Facility, and the Consol Energy
Center. Uku was the president of Yale, and Knoll was the vice
president of Yale. Pursuant to an agreement, Knoll and Uku
split the profits of Yale, with Knoll receiving 49% and Uku
receiving 51%. The agreement also stated that Uku and Knoll
could only receive funds from Yale as a distribution of
profit. Between 2008 and 2012, Uku withdrew or received $59,
983.00 from Yale's various accounts. Between 2008 and
2012, Exico, a corporation of which Uku is the president and
sole shareholder, withdrew $228, 565.35 from Yale's
various accounts. Knoll received no payments during this
On April 27, 2012, Knoll filed a Complaint against Yale and
Uku, alleging that Knoll was due his share of profits from
Yale. Yale and Uku filed an Answer, denying Knoll's
allegations. On June 10, 2013, Knoll filed an Amended
Complaint against the Appellants, alleging that profits from
Yale were improperly diverted to Uku and Exico. [Yale and
Uku] filed an Answer and New Matter to the Amended Complaint.
Following a non-jury trial and the filing of proposed
findings of fact and conclusions of law by both parties, the
trial court issued a verdict in favor of Knoll. [Yale and
Uku] filed a Motion for Post-Trial Relief, which the trial
court denied. Subsequently, a Judgment in the amount of $175,
882.09 was entered in favor of Knoll and against [Yale and
Knoll v. Uku, 136 A.3d 1033 (Pa.Super. 2016)
(unpublished memorandum at 1-2). This Court affirmed the
judgment in Knoll's favor.
thereafter instituted garnishment proceedings in order to
collect his judgment, and Shelley Fant, Uku's wife, was
named as a garnishee. On December 18, 2014, Knoll filed a
petition for supplementary relief in aid of execution under
Pa.R.C.P. 3118. Therein, Knoll sought to void under the
Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, 12 Pa.C.S.
§§ 5101-5110 ("PUFTA"), Uku's
transfer of three parcels of real estate that he owned
individually into the names of himself and Fant.
transfers in question occurred on February 9, 2010, and
concerned these properties then owned by Uku: 1) 241 Fourth
Avenue, Pittsburgh; 2) a one-story rental home located at
8260 Chaske Street, Verona; and 3) 214 Farmington Road,
Pittsburgh, a residential dwelling. During discovery, it was
established that the Fourth Avenue property had been sold.
Simultaneously with those transfers by Uku, Fant placed three
properties, which she solely owned, in her and Uku's
names as tenancies by the entireties. The properties that
Fant transferred from her name and into joint names included
a residence on 821 Old Mill Road, Pittsburgh, and two rental
homes located on Third Street and Ninth Street, respectively,
in Clairton. Each of the six parcels of real estate was
transferred without consideration.
Fant filed answers to Knoll's petition in aid of
execution, and both were subsequently deposed. During her
deposition, Fant testified that the property transfers were
for the purpose of estate planning. She also reported that
she remained in complete charge of the three properties that
previously belonged to her while Uku remained in total
control of the Chaske Street and Farmingham Road real estate.
Fant acknowledged that she had not executed and thus was not
financially responsible under the mortgages for the Chaske
Street and Farmington Road properties.
refused to answer any probative questions during his
deposition and instead exercised his right against
self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment. At the time,
Uku was facing criminal charges related to his businesses.
Not only did Uku refuse to answer questions regarding the
three property transfers, but he declined to respond to any
inquiries about his finances.
2, 2015, the trial court denied Knoll's petition for
supplementary relief in aid of execution. Thereafter, Knoll
filed this timely appeal, wherein he raises the following
issues for our review:
A. Did Uku conduct fraudulent transfers when, after stealing
$137, 010.35, Uku then transferred all of his individually
owned real property into his wife's name for no
consideration, rendering himself insolvent and unable to
repay the amounts he stole, while Uku continued to control
those properties after the transfers and then continued
stealing an additional $151, 538.00?
B. Did the lower court abuse its discretion when it refused
to render an adverse inference against Appellees despite the
fact that Uku refused to provide any testimony or produce any
documents regarding the property transfers at issue?
Appellant's Brief at 3.
first claims that the trial court abused its discretion and
erroneously applied PUFTA when it decided that the transfers
in question were not fraudulent. The following standard of
In prior matters involving review of alleged fraudulent
conveyances, we have stated that our standard of review of a
decree in equity is particularly limited and that such a
decree will not be disturbed unless it is unsupported by the
evidence or demonstrably capricious. The findings of the
[judge] will not be reversed unless it appears the [judge]
clearly abused the court's discretion or committed an
error of law. The test is not whether we would have reached
the same result on the evidence presented, but whether the
[judge's] conclusion can reasonably be drawn from the
Fell v. 340 Assocs., LLC, 125 A.3d 75, 81 (Pa.Super.
2015) (citation omitted).
Knoll argues that the transfers are invalid under PUFTA on
three bases: they were made with actual fraud, as outlined in
12 Pa.C.S. § 5104(a)(1); they were constructively
fraudulent, as set forth in 12 Pa.C.S. § 5104(2); and
they must automatically be set aside since the language of 12
Pa.C.S. § 5105 applies to the transfers. We first
examine § 5104, which states:
(a) General rule.-A transfer made or obligation incurred by a
debtor is fraudulent as to a creditor, whether the
creditor's claim arose before or after the transfer was
made or the obligation was incurred, if the ...