Astoria Cove developer allegedly bribed Greek bank in 1990

$5.7M loan went toward the purchase of two cargo ships

TRD New York /
Nov.November 25, 2014 09:30 AM

A 1995 court decision reveals that Steve Valiotis, a principal of Astoria Cove developer Alma Realty, allegedly bribed representatives of a Greek bank to get a $5.7 million loan in 1990.

Valiotis, as well as another director of shipping company Levant Lines, allegedly bribed a third party after they met officials from lender Banque Franco-Hellenic de Commerce, according to court documents cited by the New York Daily News. Levant was the operator of a cargo vessel between the U.S. and the Mediterranean and had allegedly been rejected for loans by more than 10 banks. The company needed the funds to buy two ships, according to court documents.

Levant ultimately got the loan. A judge presiding over a lawsuit between the bank and another investor noted there was “convincing evidence” that the loan was secured due to the alleged bribe in which Valiotis was involved, according to the newspaper. Valiotis was not named in that suit.

Alma Realty is the developer behind the Astoria Cove project in Queens, which will bring 1,700 new residential units and was recently approved by the city council’s land use committee. That approval came after the developer agreed to add more affordable units.

The full city council is expected to cast a final vote on the massive development today.

“The de Blasio administration should not be negotiating with these guys,” Jaron Benjamin, the former director of the Met Council on Housing told the newspaper.

But a city spokesman told the newspaper that “projects are evaluated on their merits. Astoria Cove will create the affordable housing and services this community needs.” [NYDN] — Claire Moses 

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