Prominent real estate attorney Leonard Grunstein, known for his work on the Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village case, has pleaded guilty to perjury in the third degree in a case concerning a real estate deal with real estate investor Ruby Schron.
Schron made a $100 million loan to help finance real estate investor Ruby Schron’s leveraged $1.3 million buyout of nursing home operator Mariner Health Services, which was to give Schron a controlling share of resulting company SV Care Holdings. The acquisition was to take the publicly-traded company private and pull the real estate separate from nursing home operations. But when Schron attempted to exercise the option in 2010, Grunstein and his business partner filed a civil laws hit to halt the move, claiming Schron never paid up on the $100 million loan and therefore could not exercise the option.
In the countersuit and legal battle that followed, Schron countersued and Grunstein testified that he told an associate the $100 million had never been funded, when in truth no such conversation ever took place. The judge then ruled against Grunstein and his business partner when documents proving the loan’s funding were found.
“During the deposition … I intentionally made a false statement that I did not believe to be true,” Grunstein said in his guilty plea, which was read in court. “I testified at that deposition that, in the summer of 2009, I told Jack Boese that the $100 million loan had not been funded … when in fact I did not have that conversation with Boese.”
Grunstein has since resigned from the New York State Bar and can never re-apply for readmission, according to information from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office cited by the New York Observer.
The maximum sentence for perjury in the third degree is a one-year jail term, a $1,000 fine and restitution. Grunstein is due in court for sentencing on February 4, and the D.A. will recommend he be sentenced to a conditional discharge, 150 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine, according to the Observer.
Grunstein did not respond to the Observer’s request for comment. [NYO] — Julie Strickland