The Real Deal New York

Madison Realty Capital moves to foreclose on Taxi King’s properties

December 03, 2015 02:31PM
By Kyna Doles

Gene Freidman and Josh Zegen

Gene Freidman and Josh Zegen

It’s not just Uber the Taxi King has to worry about.

Evgeny “Gene” Freidman will be forced to respond by Friday to disputed debts from an entity affiliated with Madison Realty Capital. The real estate investment firm, a prominent lender in New York, is foreclosing on 11 Coney Island properties Freidman owns, and is accusing the taxi mogul of defaulting on $368,708 in mortgage payments.

Friedman, who owns the single most taxi medallions in the city, also owns nearly two dozen properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, including a $4.8 million apartment on the Upper East Side, according to court documents.

Between 2002 and 2012, Friedman went on a buying spree, snapping up at least 23 buildings. His most expensive purchase was a $5.1 million garage in Long Island City, where his Millennium Taxi Meter Shop is headquartered.

Although Madison was not Freidman’s original lender, the Josh Zegen-led firm was assigned the mortgages in 2013, according to the foreclosure complaints filed in Kings County Supreme Court in October.

The properties are a mix of small commercial and mixed-use buildings along Neptune and Mermaid avenues between West 29th Street and Stilwell Avenue. Like Freidman’s taxis, the entities that control the properties boast names like Tiger Eye, Amethyst and Prince Harry Realty Corp.

Representatives for Madison Realty Capital didn’t respond to requests for comment by press time, and representatives for Freidman declined to comment. The Taxi King is also facing heat from Citibank, which alleges he owes $34 million in unpaid loans for his taxi medallions. Several months after Citibank sued, the bank accused Freidman of transferring $70 million worth of his real estate interests into trusts, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Madison also notes in its complaints that Freidman assigned his interests in the properties elsewhere, which constituted as “an additional default under the loan.”

A New York judge granted Citibank a temporary restraining order last month, which blocks Freidman from transferring the interests in his properties.