The Real Deal New York

Azad Property faces $20M suit amid fight with co-founder

Feldman says he was ousted by firm, is owed commission on failed $100M deal
By David Jones | September 05, 2014 12:10PM

A former broker and partner at Azad Property Group asked a Manhattan Supreme Court judge to block the firm from transferring any legal proceeds from a failed 2012 deal, according to court papers filed on Thursday. The request is part of a $20 million suit the broker filed against the firm he co-founded.

Andrew Feldman alleges that former partners Barry Farchi and Mansour Tabibina forced him out of Azad, a firm the three former Itzhaki Properties brokers formed in 2013, according to court documents.

Feldman also claims that he was denied a commission in a $100 million deal with Vornado for 131-137 Spring Street, a 68,000-square-foot retail property in Soho. That deal fell apart, and the property was later sold to SL Green and Jeff Sutton for $122 million.

“Defendants have asserted to me, at various times since I was driven out of Azad, that I was never actually a member of Azad at all, and that, therefore, I am not owed a member’s share of the proceeds of the Spring Street broker’s fee,” Feldman said in a sworn affidavit, filed on Thursday.

Feldman claims that he is actually owed a 70 percent broker’s fee, according to court records.  He also asserts that after the deal fell through, Farchi and Tabibina soured on him and eventually decided to freeze him out of the firm, according to the complaint.

Feldman originally filed suit against Azad in April, claiming that the trio originally left Itzhaki to form the new brokerage in 2012. He states that his duties were to include bringing in new business and overseeing certain properties through the firm’s property management arm, according to court filings.

Feldman previously spoke to The Real Deal in an article about the new brokerage.

In Feldman’s suit, he claims that talks on a separation agreement fell apart. Soon after, he asserted that the partners locked him out of the company phone system and computer servers. In May 2013, he claimed the Azad partners sent him a separation offer, stating that he was never a partner.

Feldman said he rejected that deal. His lawsuit alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortuous interference, constructive trust and other claims.

Lawyers for Azad claimed in court papers that there was never a legally-enforceable contract making Feldman a member of the firm.

The owners of the Spring Street property were also sued by Thor Equities, which claimed it had a deal to buy the property.

Azad officials did not answer calls. Attorney Raymond Baierlein, who is representing Azad, was not immediately available for comment.