NYU President, Opponents Clash Ahead of Lawsuit Appeal

NYU rendering

A week before the city and opponents of New York University’s 1.9-million-square-foot expansion plans in Greenwich Village will make oral arguments in court, NYU President John Sexton reaffirmed the vision behind the four buildings of classrooms, offices and dorms slated for a site bound by LaGuardia Place, Houston Street, Mercer Street and West 3rd Street south of Washington Square Park.

Manhattan State Supreme Court Judge Donna Mills ruled in January that part of the university’s designs for the two “superblocks” require approval from the State Legislature due to its use of land currently occupied by playgrounds and open spaces that have, in effect, become public parks. Read More


Modular Tower Developer and Contractor Slap Each Other with Lawsuits


The dispute between Pacific Park Brooklyn developer Forest City Ratner Cos. and contractor Skansksa USA Building escalated to the courts today. The construction firm that’s under contract to build B2, a residential building slated for the area around Barclays Center that used to be known as “Atlantic Yards,” filed a suit against Forest City just 16 minutes before the developer slapped the contractor with its own suit in Manhattan state court.

The contractor alleges “serious commercial and design issues” are plaguing the 363-unit, 32-story residential building that will be constructed from 930 pre-fabricated steel modules, but the complaint filed by Forest City’s lawyers contends that Skansksa should take responsibility for cost overruns and delays that led to a work stoppage and furloughs for 150 workers last week, an argument that the contractor steadfastly denies. Read More


Restaurant, Employees Taking on Giant Brookfield

PJ Clarke's

Employees of P.J. Clarke’s, the steaks and chops chain whose owners slapped Brookfield Office Properties subsidiary WFP Retail Co. with a $40 million lawsuit last month, are digging their heels in against a landlord they say is ruining their business at 4 World Financial Center.

The Battery Park City restaurant’s more than 75 employees are raging about the constant jackhammer noise in the bar, the rotating temporary entrance in front of the eatery and the scaffolding that’s blocked off parts of the patio adjacent to the Hudson River, and with primary owners Phil Scotti and Arnold Penner alleging business has fallen by 50 percent since construction started at Brookfield Place two years ago, the workers expressed solidarity during a rally for employees of the seven-location chain Wednesday night. Read More


P.J. Clarke’s Files $40M Lawsuit Against Brookfield

World Financial Center

The owners of upscale restaurant chain P.J. Clarke’s have slapped Brookfield Office Properties subsidiary WFP Retail Co. with a $40 million suit alleging the Brookfield Place developer has driven down its business by 50 percent and tried to force the eatery out of its location at 4 World Financial Center.

Restaurateurs Phil Scotti and Arnold Penner, who, along with a group of investors, own the seven-location steaks and chops chain that started at East 55th Street and Third Avenue in 1884, allege their landlord has purposefully erected sidewalk sheds that block views of the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty, closed off escalators leading to the restaurant to prevent foot traffic and made life miserable for customers and staff with leaks and noises stemming from constant construction at the site. Read More


Former Bayrock Consultant Files $5M Suit Over Development Deal

Trump Soho at 246 Spring Street

An ex-con has filed a lawsuit claiming that Jody Kriss, his ex-business partner at Bayrock Group, “used mob tactics” to try to get his half of a $2.5 million payout in a land deal, according to a new lawsuit reported by the New York Post.

The suit stems from Salvatore Lauria, a Mafia-associate-turned-informant, allegedly brokering an $85 million real estate deal with the FL Group of Iceland in 2007.
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Legal Wrangling Over Worldwide Plaza Deal Set to Continue

One Worldwide Plaza

RXR Realty’s legal representation plans to pursue its lawsuit against American Realty Capital and George Comfort & Sons over the sale of Worldwide Plaza, Stephen Meister, attorney for RXR, told The Commercial Observer.

The lawsuit, filed last month, alleges RXR had reached an agreement to buy the 48.9 percent stake in the 59-story, 1.8-million-square-foot tower with American Realty Capital as an investment partner, which included the right to purchase the entire property for a combined $1.35 billion. Read More


Broker Accused of Sending Masturbation Video to Teenage Intern

Robert Khodadadian.

Eastern Consolidated is suing former associate broker Robert Khodadadian, claiming he violated company policy when he allegedly messaged a cellphone video of himself masturbating “to conclusion” to a teenage intern.

Mr. Khodadadian allegedly sent the (faceless) video to the female intern on April 24, two days before the Manhattan-based commercial real estate firm canned him Read More


Solow Sues Banks over Manipulation of Libor


7 West 57th Street Realty Co., a real estate company controlled by Sheldon Solow, filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday against Citibank, Bank of America, Barclays, JPMorgan and a number of other banks for allegedly conspiring to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).

The complaint alleges the defendant banks’ conspiracy to manipulate Libor resulted in the seizure of Mr. Solow’s $450 million bond portfolio by Citibank. The portfolio was pledged as collateral for Libor denominated loans, the complaint says, and was comprised largely of high-grade municipal bonds. Subsequently, Solow was obligated to pay a $100 million judgment. Read More

Lawsuits, domino sugar factory

Domino Suit Thrown Out, Paving The Way For Factory’s $180 Million Sale

Domino Plant

The State Appellate Court has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to block the sale of the Domino Sugar factory, paving the way for the real estate firm Two Trees to close on a $180 million acquisition of the property later this month.

The Katan Group, which owns the site in a joint venture with the Community Preservation Corporation Resources, launched the suit during the summer, alleging CPCR had ignored higher bids for the 11-acre parcel and therefore had not acted in the best interest of the partnership to try to maximize profits in a sale. Read More


Katan Group Sues To Block $180 Million Domino Sugar Factory Deal

Isaac Katan, chief executive of The Katan Group

The Katan Group has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the $180 million sale of the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg to the real estate investment and development firm Two Trees.

Katan, an owner of the 11-acre site in a joint venture with CPC Resources, accuses its partner of neglecting superior bids for the $2 billion development project, including offers from the well known New York real estate investor Joe Chetrit, and of not conducting a proper sales process for the site. Read More


Mitch Konsker, Former Top Cushman Team, Sues Firm Over Commissions

Mitch Konsker

A high profile leasing team in the city is accusing its former firm of cheating it out of millions of dollars worth of commissions.

The group of leasing executives, Mitch Konsker, Paul Glickman, Matt Astrachan, Alex Chudnoff and Mitti Liebersohn, allege in a lawsuit filed yesterday in State Supreme Court that Cushman & Wakefield owes the team at least $4 million in unpaid compensation, though the complaint doesn’t specify the exact amount. Read More


Court Swats Down Lawsuit At Domino Factory, Paving Way For Shakeup


The developer of the Domino Sugar Factory failed to receive an injunction in State Supreme Court Tuesday to block its partner from recapitalizing the proposed $1.5 billion project.

The decision appeared to clear the way for the Community Preservation Corporation, a joint owner of the site, to proceed with a deal to hand the majority stake to the project’s senior lender, Pacific Coast Capital Partners, LLC.

Isaac Katan, who has been a fifty-fifty partner with CPC in the 11-acre former factory, had launched the suit in March seeking an injunction on the restructuring deal because it would significantly dilute both his and CPC’s interest in the project, which sits along the Brooklyn waterfront in Williamsburg. Read More