The developers of a troubled Turtle Bay condominium tower filed a $100 million malpractice lawsuit against two high-powered law firms Cozen O’Connor and Blank Rome for allegedly giving them bad zoning advice prior to the fatal March 2008 crane collapse that killed seven people at the East 51st Street site.
The developers, led by former firefighter James Kennelly of Kennelly
Development, alleged in a suit filed June 13 in New York state Supreme
Court that their former zoning lawyers provided flawed legal opinions,
which led them to overestimate the value of the property, leading to the
eventual default of $70 million in loans with Arbor Realty Trust.
“Cozen and Blank Rome’s incorrect analysis of the applicable zoning
regulations and their failure to conduct sufficient and adequate due
diligence caused plaintiff to overestimate the value or potential value of
the project,” attorney Rex Whitehorn, representing Kennelly, wrote in
the complaint, “and plaintiff made irreversible decisions with respect to
financing while relying on plaintiff’s advice.” … [more]