Corigin Real Estate Group, a Manhattan-based private equity firm, filed suit to foreclose on $20 million in loans at 122 East 58th Street, a property owned by Mosdot Shuva Israel, the non-profit organization led by Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto.
The complaint, filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court, claims the charity defaulted on the loans on March 17. The total includes a $15 million note and a $5 million note originally borrowed from Signature Bank in 2009, and later extended. Signature sold the notes to Corigin, a firm led by Ryan Freedman, former chairman of development firm Coalco New York on March 13.
The lawsuit names several members of the charity’s board of directors as defendants, including Keller Williams brokers Ilan Bracha and Haim Binstock and Livorno Properties executives Ben Zion Suky and Yosi Zaga, and maintains they provided guarantees to repay the loans. Also named as guarantors were Joseph Ben Moha of Roxy Deli and investor Haim Revah.
The suit claims that $14.3 million is owed on the $15 million note and $3 million is owed on the $5 million note.
Suky told The Real Deal the investors had an agreement with Signature Bank to extend the loan. They borrowed a total of $22.3 million, and paid $5 million of that already, for a $17.3 million loan balance, he said. “They agreed to extend the loan and reduce the interest on the loan,” said Suky, in an interview.
He said Signature Bank notified them the day before it sold the loan, but he was unaware exactly who bought it.
“We are thinking about what will be our next step on Signature Bank,” he said. “We have a bank that we’re going to refinance with, in the next few days.”
Mosdot bought the property in 2009 for $28.5 million, with plans to use the space for a synagogue, school and administrative offices.
The foreclosure case marks the latest in a string of legal entanglements connected to Pinto. The spiritual leader is under investigation in Israel for allegedly attempting to bribe at least one police official.
Last month, Tomer Shohat, a New York hedge fund manager and rival of Suky’s, accused Pinto in a civil suit of urging a New York police detective, Eric Patino, to arrest Shohat in February 2013 for grand larceny. Patino also works as a broker for Azad Property Group.
Shohat said the charges against him were dropped in April 2013, and provided a document showing the dismissal.
According to claims made in a separate lawsuit filed by Shohat in Manhattan Supreme Court in February, Suky misappropriated funds at the Metro Apartments at 440 West 41st Street, where they were both investors.
Bracha, Zaga and Moha were not immediately available for comment. Patino declined to comment, saying the matter was under police investigation.