Salvatore J. Cangiano enjoys a reputation as a shrewd land speculator and developer, one who isn’t shy about pressing his ownership rights through litigation — “I’m very competitive” — or, perhaps, just by sheer force of will. And pretty much all those descriptors were on display in the rough-and-tumble struggle that ended with him in possession of Wheatland Farms in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Consider this: As Cangiano prepared to go to settlement on the purchase of the spectacular 549-acre property in spring 2005, according to court records, he was unknowingly recorded in a conversation discussing his concerns about contractual obligations the sellers had made, including an obligation to host weddings at the Wheatland Manor House.
“Hey, anybody gives me a hard time, I go there and lock the buildings. I’ll put everybody off the property. I deal New Jersey style. I’ll just lock everybody out. Nobody is allowed here. Go sue me.”
When the Wheatland deal crumbled and dissolved into litigation, Cangiano was asked about the conversation under oath: “I don’t know what ‘New Jersey style’ means. I really don’t know what that means. I deal honestly, morally, and ethically. That’s how I deal. I hope everybody else would.”
Recently, in an interview, Cangiano laughed when asked about the conversation saying: “That was a levity.” Just two guys joking around, he explained.
However, when Cangiano’s attorney asked Ava Abramowitz, the former co-owner of Wheatland Farms, what she understood “New Jersey style” to mean, she testified: “Ask Jimmy Hoffa what ‘New Jersey style’ means. We were petrified. We did not know how to handle this situation.”
“Are you saying you thought Mr. Cangiano was threatening to kill you or your husband?” Cangiano’s attorney asked.
“No,” she replied. “I am not saying that at all. I’m just saying I don’t even think of New Jersey style. He’s a man who does.”