The Real Deal New York

Mann sues former partners over personal Apthorp pad

April 07, 2011 05:38PM
By David Jones

Maurice Mann, the original developer of the Apthorp
condominium conversion, has filed a new lawsuit against his
former partners, alleging they reneged on an agreement to let him
buy an apartment at the building.

Mann, in a lawsuit filed Monday in New York state Supreme
Court, alleged that in 2009, his former development partners,
Apthorp Associates and Broadwall Management, agreed to sell
him apartment 2C at the building, but then refused and offered him
apartment 6A.

Mann initially agreed to buy the historic Apthorp at 390 West End
Avenue in 2006, and later brought in Africa Israel chairman Lev
Leviev as his partner in a record $426 million acquisition.

Leviev later filed suit to depose Mann as managing partner in
the conversion after Apollo Real Estate, the project’s mezzanine
lender and Anglo Irish Bank, the mortgage lender, threatened to
foreclose on the property.
Mann later filed his own suit in March 2009, to block a new loan
agreement
restructuring the debt.

Following weeks of public litigation, Broadwall, a unit of the Feil
Organization, replaced Mann in managing the conversion and
drastically cut prices, which were originally up to $3,000 a square
foot.

Andrew Ratner, executive vice president at Broadwall, agreed to
the deal, according to Mann, but several weeks later said apartment
6A was needed as a model unit to show prospective buyers. Mann
says he then proposed buying apartment 10A, but his partners
responded that they would have to wait until Attorney General
Andrew Cuomo approved the condo conversion plan for the
property.

Mann says that once the AG approved the conversion, he
submitted a memorandum of understanding to Broadwall
and they told him his agreement would be reviewed once
they finished “other pressing business matters” including the
refinancing of the building loan and closing sales of the units
submitted to the AG’s office.

Mann says he was told that several problems at the building,
including the termination of Prudential Douglas Elliman as the
broker for the building, took precedence over his agreement, and
he was notified Sept. 23, 2010, that the deal was off. He alleges
that Ratner stated that he did not want Mann on the property any
longer.

As The Real Deal previously reported, Mann’s apartment was put
back on the market in February 2010 for more than $12 million.

Mann says he was offered a deal for the new developers to pay
him the difference between his option price and the listed price for
apartment 2C.

Mann alleges that Ratner, who was named as a defendant, induced
him into negotiations that he never intended on consummating. He
also claims that Ratner, “in concert with other Apthorp management
committee members,” including Richard Marin, the former
president of Africa Israel’s American subsidiary, “acted out of
personal animosity with mean spirited intentions.”

Mann is asking for a judgment giving him the right to buy the
apartment and for unspecified damages.

A spokesperson for the Apthorp said: “We do not comment on
pending litigation.”

Neither Mann nor Ratner returned calls for comment. Mann’s
attorney John Giordino did not return calls for comment.

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