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 investor Ruby Schron.
Schron made a $100 million loan to help finance a $1.3 billion leveraged buyout of nursing home operator Mariner Health Services, which was to give him a controlling share of the 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 lawsuit 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, Grunstein testified that he told an associate the $100 million had never been provided. But when documents later surfaced proving the loan had been handed over, a judge ruled against Grunstein and his business partner, according to a report from the New York Observer.
“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 earlier this week. “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 reapply for readmission, according to information from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office cited by the 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 Feb. 4, and the DA 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