Two former chief officers of Duane Reade have been convicted of fraud after a two-month long trial, in which one of the city’s biggest retail brokerage firms, Winick Realty Group, played a central role, according to the United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York. Former CEO Anthony Cuti and one-time CFO William Tennant were both convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud, in connection with a five-year-long scheme to falsely increase income and lower expenses, while misleading investors. Tennant got a $2.8 million stock gain in 2001 after work… [more]
Posts Tagged ‘cory zelnik’
The prosecution is scheduled to deliver its final statement this morning in the federal securities fraud case against two former Duane Reade executives who are accused of using bogus real estate deals throu… [more]
The state agency that licenses real estate brokers opened an investigation this week into two of the city’s top retail brokers based on court testimony from one of them saying that about a decade ago they accepted a $… [more]
Prominent Manhattan landlord Jeffrey Sutton took the witness stand earlier this week and testified about a deal prosecutors say was part of a scheme by Duane Reade executives to use bogus real estate deals to inflate the company’s profits. Sutton, an owner of more than 100 buildings with a focus in retail, explained how he served as an unwitting conduit for the Duane Reade executives, who are on trial in Manhattan federal court for attempting to artificially boost their public company’s short-term earnings with these transactions.
The ongoing federal trial of two former Duane Reade executives on
charges that they misled investors through bogus real estate
transactions may sully the reputation of one of the city’s leading
retail brokerage firms even though it faces no charges, real estate insiders say. Winick Realty, its CEO Jeff Winick and former president
Cory Zelnik have not been charged in the case but some of their
business deals are under scrutiny. “Once an allegation is made and
it goes through the media sound chamber, people who were only partially
paying attention will have it stick in their cranium,” said real estate
attorney Lawrence Lenzner, partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler,
who is not involved in the trial. “Even if it is 100 percent false,
enough people have heard it, his name has been disparaged and it can
take years to recover from that.”… [more]
The defense in the federal trial of two former Duane Reade executives is painting a murky picture of two of the city’s leading retail brokers as the trial entered its second week. The brokers, who are not charged in the case, acted on a few deals with
Duane Reade as both landlord and broker. In addition, the trial has
painted a picture of a retail leasing environment in which landlords in a
few instances paid brokers in cash to avoid taxes, including one
instance of a suitcase filled with cash, though such cash dealings
didn’t occur in connection with the Duane Reade deals. Defense attorney Reid Weingarten, representing one of the two Duane
Reade executives accused of orchestrating sham real estate deals with
affiliates of Winick Realty Group, said that while the deals were not
bogus arrangements, they were pieces in a cloudy interconnected world
where payments flew back and forth between limited liability companies.
From left: Former Winick Realty President Cory Zelnik, former Duane Reade location at 4 Times Square, and current location at 225 Broadway (building photo source: PropertyShark)
In his second day on the witness stand, former Winick Realty Group President Cory Zelnik described additional allegedly fraudulent leasing transactions with drug store chain Duane Reade, this time at various city locations including one on lower Broadway damaged in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and another at the site of the Durst Organization’s One Bryant Park in Midtown.
Zelnik took the stand for his second day of testimony yesterday in a case brought by the United States Attorney in Manhattan against two former executives of drug store chain Duane Reade, who are accused of multiple crimes including securities fraud, which involved allegedly bogus real estate deals. Zelnik is not charged in the case, but is testifying under a grant of immunity from prosecution for his participation in the allegedly fraudulent deals. The defendants Anthony Cuti, former Duane Reade CEO, and William Tennant, a former CFO and senior vice president, who later served as an outside consultant for the drug store chain, are accused of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, filing false quarterly and annual reports, and other charges. They each face up to 20 years in prison…. [more]
Former Winick Realty Group president Cory Zelnik says he paid for an expired lease at 1412 Broadway after moving Duane Reade to 1430 Broadway (building photos’ source: PropertyShark)
Former Winick Realty Group President Cory Zelnik testified yesterday as the first witness in the federal government’s securities fraud conspiracy trial of two former executives of the New York-based pharmacy Duane Reade. Zelnik told the jury that he and his former partner Jeff Winick, CEO of Winick Realty, engaged in a series of allegedly bogus transactions with Duane Reade that had no economic value, starting in about 2000. Neither Zelnik, Winick nor his company are named in the indictment, and Winick is not facing any charges. Zelnik agreed to testify on a grant of immunity from prosecution. Zelnik said he and Winick were partners in a real estate investment company called Danielle Equity Holding that in February 2001 paid Duane Reade a total of $806,000 for the right to control leases in eight properties valued at between $63,000 and $170,000 per lease although in fact the leases allegedly no longer had value. Zelnik and Winnick paid the money, he said, because they expected to get paid back and remain working with Duane Reade…. [more]
The government and defense laid out their arguments in opening statements this morning in the trial of two former Duane Reade executives accused of pumping up share value including by creating allegedly bogus real estate transactions between the pharmacy and its primary broker Winick Realty Group. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Streeter told the jury that the deals between Duane Reade and Winick and other landlords and developers including Jeff Sutton, president of Wharton Properties — were bogus. “All this was done for Duane Reade to claim higher profits than they really had,” he said. Former Duane Reade CEO Anthony Cuti and former CFO William Tennant are facing multiple charges including securities fraud, filing false quarterly and annual reports, and filing false books…. [more]
From left: Cory Zelnik of Zelnik & Company; Jeff Winick of Winick Realty,
former Duane Reade locations at 304 Madison Avenue, 360 Park Avenue
(building photo source: PropertyShark)
The hidden world of Manhattan retail brokerage will be thrust under a spotlight during the federal trial that opened today with jury selection against two former executives of Duane Reade. The criminal case against the former executives, Anthony Cuti and William Tennant, in Manhattan federal court hinges on the prosecution’s claims that complex leasing transactions, most involving Jeff Winick’s Winick Realty Group, were fraudulently accounted for. The trial began today with jury selection and tomorrow the first witnesses are expected to be called, beginning with former Winick Realty president Cory Zelnik, now CEO of Zelnik & Company, a legal source said. The world of retail leasing is far less transparent than office leasing, with the terms of many deals kept private by the parties, retail brokers say. Prosecutors charged in an October 2008 indictment that the former Duane Reade executives set up bogus real estate deals and vendor transactions to pump up income for earnings reports for the publicly traded company, between December 2000 and June 2005…. [more]
From left: Jeff Winick, CEO of Winick Realty Group, Cory Zelnik, founder and CEO of Zelnik & Company, and Duane Reade at 100 West 57th Street (building photo source: PropertyShark)
One of the city’s largest retail brokerage firms, Winick Realty Group, is a central element in a case set to go to trial tomorrow in which federal prosecutors accuse former executives of the drug store chain Duane Reade of deceiving investors through exaggerating millions of dollars of the company’s income, court records show.
Government prosecutors claim in an October 2008 indictment that Duane Reade executives Anthony Cuti and William Tennant orchestrated sham real estate transactions and other improprieties to pump up failing income statements.
Three companies affiliated with Jeff Winick, CEO of Winick Realty, are identified as being involved in 43 of 51 real estate deals the government alleges are not legitimate, court papers say.
While Winick was not identified in the indictment against Cuti and Tennant, court papers Cuti filed in January identify the brokerage Winick as the firm involved in the deals. Winick is not charged in the indictment and there are no allegations against Winick or his firm of wrongdoing. Jeff Winick said in an e-mail that he could not comment…. [more]
A new report on New York City’s traditionally tight-lipped retail leasing market lifts the curtain on pricing in more than 193 shopping districts in the five boroughs (see the full report after the jump). The survey, the first undertaken by the two-year-old Brooklyn sales and leasing firm CPEX Real Estate, gives ranges for rents based on a review of more than 1,200 leases as well as interviews with owners, appraisers and other industry sources, company principal Timothy King said. The overview is a rare glimpse into the retail leasing industry that remains far more secretive than residential and office leasing, brokers said. While brokerage firms release retail reports, for example commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis released a sophisticated fourth-quarter retail analysis of 10 shopping districts in Manhattan south of 86th Street this week, they do not cover all five boroughs. King said there were few surprises in the CPEX data. He said its value was as a tool for clients looking for a broad view of the market. “If a retailer comes from out of town, this is a road map to give you a logical starting point,” King said…. [more]
Ellen Rudin, managing director for Long Island and the outer boroughs at CBRE and the office in Long Island City (building photo source: LIQCity)
Despite a grinding recession producing “for rent” signs all over the city, commercial services firm CB Richard Ellis is beefing up its presence in the outer boroughs.
The California-based company recently opened a new office in a retail space in Long Island City, replacing a nearby now-shuttered office location, and for the first time, is basing two retail brokers in the borough. The firm also is interviewing to hire new brokers, the managing director for Long Island and the outer boroughs, Ellen Rudin, said.
The LIC office, covering all the outer boroughs, houses eight agents including the two retail brokers (one of whom splits his time with the firm’s Woodbury, LI, office), one investment sales broker and five office and industrial brokers, Rudin said. The firm is the only national brokerage with an office in the outer boroughs, even as most also do deals there.
Although CBRE’s number of brokers working outside Manhattan is about the same as in recent years, this is the first time it has based any retail brokers in an outer-borough location…. [more]