The owner of two restaurants located in the atrium of the Sony Building claims that longtime friend and new co-owner of the building, Joe Chetrit, tried to strong-arm him out of the building.
Joseph Allaham, owner of Solo and Pizza da Solo, alleges that Mr. Chetrit is behind a push to evict him from the building, offering him $500,000 to leave, The New York Times reported, citing court documents filed in State Supreme Court.
“Imagine your best friend turning on you,” Mr. Allaham told the newspaper. “It’s awkward, and it’s painful… but I’m not going to leave.”
Mr. Chetrit and his wife, Nancy, attended Mr. Allaham’s wedding in 2008, their son Jonathan was an usher, and the Chetrits held a party at their summer home in Westhampton for the newlyweds a few days later, according to Mr. Allaham and others.
But shortly after Sony sold the tower for $1.1 billion to Mr. Chetrit and David Bistricer in March, Sony, the flagship retail tenant that holds the restaurant’s lease, began eviction proceedings against Mr. Allaham. And Mr. Allaham claims that Mr. Chetrit and his brother Meyer spent three hours last March in an attempt to get Mr. Allaham out within six months, offering up the half million.
While Mr. Chetrit remained silent on the issue, Mr. Bistricer denied the claims, telling the Times, “There was no meeting between them, because I would have known about it if there was… Why would we even want him out? He’s paying a decent rent.”
Sony meanwhile claims that Pizza da Solo was “substantially increasing the volume of garbage and other refuse which we must remove from the atrium” and that the space was intended only as a waiting area for the main Solo restaurant.
“There was never any discussion” about Mr. Allaham’s “constructing, opening or operating a pizzeria,” Sony stated, claiming that Mr. Allaham is also in violation of the terms of his lease because his restaurant Prime Grill is less than two blocks away.
Mr. Chetrit and Mr. Bistricer plan to turn the tower into residential condominiums and a hotel.