Conford, Matthews and Fritz. The opinion of the court was delivered by Conford, P.J.A.D.
This is an action by a broker for damages for breach by defendant fraternal organization ("Lodge") of an agreement between them for him to secure a purchaser of the Lodge property at a stated price. The most substantial defensive issue raised below was whether defendant in fact engaged plaintiff for the stated purpose. The trial court, sitting without a jury, found for defendant on that issue, and added other grounds for entering judgment against plaintiff.
From the entirety of the proofs the following facts appear. Plaintiff had been engaged by Dyn Manufacturing and Packaging Corp. ("Dyn") to find it a building for expansion of its activities. Hearing that defendant's nearby lodge building might be for sale, Dyn had plaintiff approach one Caporale, secretary of the Lodge, on the subject. The latter invited plaintiff to a meeting of the executive committee to present his proposition. According to the minutes of an
April 28, 1969 meeting of that committee, Caporale reported having been approached by "Real Estate Broker * * * Stanchak quoting he has a buyer for our premises," and Caporale was instructed to advise plaintiff to appear at the May 5 meeting to submit his proposal.
The pertinent portion of the minutes of the May 5 meeting, certified by Caporale, read as follows:
Harry A. Stanchak Cliffside Park Real Estate Broker was admitted to explain his attendance he quotes on previous by [ sic ] verbal remarks he had a buyer if we were in the market of selling and his price was 40 to 45,000 dollars, the Officers set [ sic ] that if a sale was in the making the price would be at least 60,000 dollars plus Brokers fees. He was advised that the proposal would be studied and he would be advised within the next few days. Stanchak left about his business and Officers resulmed [ sic ] their Business. Secretary was then advised to advise that the sale price would be 60,000 dollars plus Brokers fees if a sale was consummated.
The substance of the foregoing was supported by testimony of plaintiff. Caporale testified, on cross-examination, in reference to the May 5 meeting.
Q. They [the Lodge committee] were ready to sell it for $60,000 provided Stanchak was paid commissions by someone other than the Moose? A. Well, at that time that's what they decided, yes.
Presumably executing the instructions given him at the May 5 meeting, Caporale on May 13, 1969, on the letterhead of the Moose organization, wrote Stanchak as follows:
RE: Property, 220 Walker St., Cliffside Park, N.J.
Confirming discussion with you on Monday May 5th regarding sale of the above, after a meeting of all the Officers in the past few days, I ...