Court deals setback to potential Ring partner

By Adam Pincus | July 19, 2011 06:43PM

[Updated 11:41 p.m., with a comment from Ring’s attorney] A state court judge handed down a defeat today to deep-pocketed real estate
investor Joe Tabak who sought to partner with property heir Michael Ring
through a $112.4 million infusion of cash and debt in 14 mostly underperforming
Manhattan commercial properties.

State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried rejected a request by Tabak’s
Princeton Holdings for a preliminary injunction to block Ring from “selling,
leasing, transferring or encumbering Michael Ring’s interest,” until arbitration had
resolved a simmering agreement dispute.

“[Princeton Holdings] came to court seeking immediate relief and the court said, ‘I
can’t give it to you,'” Terrence Oved, partner at the law firm Oved & Oved, who
is not involved in the litigation, said. “In denying their requested relief, the court
found that Princeton Holdings had failed to demonstrate that it was entitled to a
preliminary injunction as a matter of law.”

Tabak’s company signed an agreement with Ring Feb. 24 to buy a 50 percent
interest in Ring’s interest in the 14 properties, and then by April 10 had made
deposits totaling $10 million in escrow, court records show.

Ring himself is a 50 percent owner with his brother Frank Ring, in the 14
properties that include the 120,000-square-foot 251 Park Avenue South and the
223,500-square-foot 212 Fifth Avenue.

Tabak, a Midtown-based property owner, had asked for the preliminary
injunction in a lawsuit filed May 31, in which he claimed Ring had violated the

But Ring saw it differently, and allowed the purchase agreement to
expire, “consistent with his right,” court papers say.

Tabak won an early victory at a court hearing June 6 when Fried issued a
temporary restraining order blocking any sales or leases, but that was lifted by
his ruling today.

Ring’s attorney Stephen Meister, a partner at law firm Meister Seelig & Fein, said even if Tabak continues to litigate the case, “Tabak will never be Michael Ring’s partner. This is the end of [the possibility of a partnership].”
The case now goes to arbitration, court records indicate.

Ring, Tabak and Tabak’s attorney either declined to comment or were not
immediately available for comment.