Crown blocked from evicting Steve Madden at 720 Lexington

By David Jones | October 31, 2013 03:48PM

A New York State judge has stalled landlord Crown Acquisitions’ move to evict Steve Madden from its flagship location at 720 Lexington Avenue, handing a victory to the shoe retailer in a spat over hundreds of thousands of dollars in back rent.

Judge Anil Singh of New York State Supreme Court granted Steve Madden a preliminary injunction on Wednesday.

The Long Island City-based chain filed suit Tuesday in response to an Oct. 16 eviction notice over $369,000 in rent that went unpaid over the last three months. Steve Madden didn’t pay the rent because it claimed it’s actually owed $562,000 in credits and refunds for a flood at the property and a payment from an earlier court deal.

“There’s money that was due us that they never appropriately gave us credit for,” attorney Warrren Estis, a partner at Rosenberg & Estis who is representing Steve Madden in the case, told The Real Deal. “It just came to our attention that we’d been overcharged and overpaid and never got the credit.”

Attorney Brad Bassuk, who represents the landlord in the eviction proceedings, declined to comment. Chera was not immediately available for comment.

The two sides are scheduled to face off in at a hearing on Nov. 27, according to court documents.

Steve Madden, which operates 117 stores nationwide, signed a 10-year lease for the space in 2007.

In February 2008, the retailer sued Crown, led by Haim Chera, over a separate rent dispute. The parties settled that same month, and the landlord agreed to credit Steve Madden $349,000 in rent for January through March 2012, according to an affidavit from Steve Madden’s senior vice president, Alan Novich.

However, Crown forgot to apply the credit, and the retailer paid the rent for those three months, Novich claimed. Additionally, a clogged drainpipe this past June flooded the store, forcing Steve Madden to vacate the space until September, he said. Steve Madden contends it should not have had to pay rent for those two months.

Crown has also tangled with another tenant at 720 Lexington Avenue. In 2011, the landlord won a federal lawsuit against Guess over a claim that the apparel chain wrongly backed out of its lease for the space that Steve Madden currently occupies, as The Real Deal reported.