Suzuki faces lawsuit at Midtown condo Number 5

TRD New York /
Jun.June 06, 2012 09:00 AM

Real estate mogul Sam Suzuki is facing a $3 million lawsuit from the condominium board at his Number 5 development in Midtown, with the board alleging that he committed fraud and negligence in the marketing and sale of apartments at the building.

The suit against Suzuki, principal of Suzuki Capital, was filed last week in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The residential firm Core, previously the broker at Number 5, was named as a defendant, for alleged fraud in the marketing and sale of condo units at the 20-story building, located at 5 East 44th Street.

The summons does not specify in detail what the complaints were; lawyers allege there were a number of promises made to fix construction issues at the building that were not fulfilled.

“We hope that we can amicably resolve all issues concerning construction of the building,” said attorney Steve Sladkus, head of the real estate practice at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

The lawsuit alleges that Suzuki, along with co-developer Patrick Thompson, also wrongfully transferred equity distributions of the sponsor’s assets thus leaving the sponsor insolvent, or with “unreasonably small capital.”

A group of contractors, starting with Philip Johnson/Alan Ritchie Architects, were also named as defendants for alleged negligence, fraud and professional malpractice in connection with architectural and engineering services at the building.

Suzuki first acquired the original six-story office building in 2006, later demolishing it and converting it into condos.

The suit marks the latest piece of litigation involving the building.

Douglas Elliman and Core Group previously filed suit against the sponsor group for allegedly failing to pay commissions on individual unit sales. In March, a state Supreme Court judge granted an $87,871 judgment in favor of Douglas Elliman.

According to Streeteasy.com, the property has 23 previously recorded sales averaging $1,067 per square foot.

In 2006, BRT Realty Trust filed suit against Suzuki and 44th Street Partners, alleging the sponsor defaulted on $1.2 million in mortgage principal after failing to make payments starting in May 2006.

Suzuki, who left Vintage Group in 2008 to form Hunter Property Management, has faced years of criticism for his handling of properties in the Bronx and other areas. He was forced to spend a month in jail at the Manhattan Detention Complex in 2010 after failing to make repairs demanded by a Bronx Housing court judge.

Neither Suzuki nor Thompson were immediately available for comment. Attorney Alice Belmonte, who represented Suzuki in the original Core Group suit, declined comment. Attorneys at Starr Associates, the firm that handled the Number 5 offering plan, were not immediately available.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios

Two Elliman agents launch platform to provide renters, buyers and sellers up to $50K in unsecured loans

Jacob Sudhoff and Scott Durkin (Credit: Sudhoff Companies, Emily Assiran, iStock)

Douglas Elliman is coming to Texas

Elliman’s revenue rose 18%, after sales frenzy to avoid New York’s new transfer tax

Unrealistic pricing bogs down Miami luxury condo market: TRD Showcase & Forum

From left: RealPlus' Eric Gordon, Corcoran's Pam Liebman, Halstead's Diane Ramirez, Douglas Elliman's Howard Lorber and Brown Harris Stevens' Bess Freedman (Credit: Eric Gordon by Emily Assiran, Getty Images, Halstead, BHS, iStock)

Terra sells part of RealPlus stake to Corcoran and Elliman

The Real Deal’s E.B. Solomont receives Front Page Award

Rents increased year over year this September in Manhattan and Brooklyn to $4,336 and $3,366

Rents tick up and concessions fall amid broader economic uncertainty

The number of closed sales fell by more than 14 percent year over year in the third quarter (Credit: iStock)

Low mortgage rates are killing Manhattan’s all-cash buyer

arrow_forward_ios