Suky and partner face foreclosure auction at Yorkville rental building

By David Jones | July 18, 2011 01:13PM

A State Supreme Court judge last Monday issued a final foreclosure order against a Yorkville apartment building owned by Livorno Properties principals Yossi Zaga and Ben Zion Suky, setting the stage for a courthouse auction.

The five-story walkup rental building at 501½ East 83rd Street, which a Suky-backed entity called Wall Time Realty acquired in 2006 for $3.5 million, will be scheduled for auction by a court-appointed referee, but a specific date has not yet been set.

The lender, Glen Cove, N.Y.-based First Central Savings Bank originally filed suit in April 2009 alleging the borrowers failed to make monthly payments of $23,418 between December 2008 and March 2009 at the building, between York and East End avenues. The suit also alleges the borrowers took out a $3.25 million second mortgage in August 2008 with an entity called Express Service Forwarding, without the prior permission of the senior lender.

In February 2010, the judge appointed attorney Mary Dale Dorman as receiver over the property, giving her authority to collect rents and hire a manager for the premises.

Massey Knakal Realty Services previously listed the building, which has 11 apartments and two commercial units, for $4.95 million. The property, which has 6,960 square feet of space, included 11, 400 square feet of air rights, and was being offered as a possible single-family home. Former Massey Knakal executive Shimon Shkury, who was the lead salesperson for the property at the time, declined to comment. Thomas Gammino Jr., a vice president at Massey Knakal, who also represented the property at the time, did not return calls for comment.

The foreclosure is just the latest in a string of legal and financial entanglements for Zaga and Suky. In 2010, the two faced a separate foreclosure suit at 215 East 81st Street, a condominium that has been in complete turmoil for several years and had a court-appointed administrator named to oversee millions of dollars in defects that led to citations by the fire and buildings department.  

In March, Suky and Debora Rivka Pinto, the wife of Rabbi Yishayahu Yosef Pinto, were sued by the Cielo Condominium at 450 East 83rd Street, for failure to pay $17,000 in common charges and late fees on an apartment they co-owned. Earlier this month they filed a $1 million counterclaim, alleging they were denied access to common areas at the property and that their mail was tampered with, according to court documents. Kelly Griffin, attorney for Suky and Pinto, was not immediately available for comment.

In April, the a state Supreme Court judge approved the foreclosure auction of the MAve Hotel, a boutique property owned by Suky and Roxy Deli owner Joseph Ben Moha, at 62 Madison Avenue.  

The auction, originally scheduled for May 17, was indefinitely halted when the developers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.