The Real Deal New York

Judge to Africa Israel: Give up control of 15 Broad

Amid Attorney General's probe, developer told to cede authority to condo board
By David Jones | April 30, 2014 02:50PM

A State Supreme Court judge on Tuesday gave Africa Israel a week’s notice to begin the process of handing over control of 15 Broad Street to condo unit owners.

Judge Debra James issued a written order that requires the developers, Africa Israel and Shaya Boymelgreen to call a board meeting at the 382-unit building, which is marketed under the name Downtown by Starck, where the sponsors will cede authority over the building’s operations.

The order comes two weeks after the judge rejected a motion by Africa Israel to block a restraining order by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is investigating alleged construction defects and financial improprieties at the complex.

The February restraining order temporarily barred Boymelgreen and Africa Israel, from marketing, sales or other participation in condos and coops across New York state.

Africa Israel, which co-developed 20 Pine Street with Boymelgreen, as well as the Apthorp condominium on the Upper West Side (with developer Maurice Mann) argued that Schneiderman’s request for a ban exceeded his authority.

According to the lawsuit filed by Schneiderman’s office, the condo has no permanent certificate of occupancy due to extensive construction defects at the building and millions of dollars that were set aside to repair those defect cannot be accounted for.

“My client is thrilled that Justice James reinstated Justice Braun’s original order in full and that the individual unit owners may finally control their residences in which the sponsor has no interest,” said Steve Sladkus, co-chair of the real estate practice at Wolf Haldenstein, which represents the independent committee of the 15 Broad condominium board. “In addition, it would be nice if Africa Israel and Mr. Boymelgreen would finally step to the plate and address the issues being complained of for so long instead of letting those complaints fall on deaf ears.”

Africa Israel said it would have no comment, through a spokesperson.