In legal tangle, Ashkenazy works to forestall contempt citations

Lenders seek depositions and documents amid loan defaults
By David Jones | December 22, 2014 01:10PM

Lawyers for developers Ben and Izzy Ashkenazy and Izzy’s business partner Jonathan Igus are in talks to resolve potential contempt citations for allegedly failing to appear for depositions. Those depositions are tied to loan defaults and $5 million in judgments related to the now-defunct Anglo Irish Bank.

Lawyers for Wells Fargo and Dallas-based Lone Star Funds — which acquired the distressed debt from Anglo Irish — filed suit Dec. 11 to enforce a subpoena on Ben Ashkenazy and Ashkenazy Acquisition.
The banks allege that Ben Ashkenazy signed fraudulent transfers of $1.2 million in assets between his father Izzy and his mother Shula.

Attorneys for the lenders threatened to ask the court to hold the parties in contempt for failure to appear at depositions scheduled for November and fine them $1,000 a day or face possible arrest.

When reached by The Real Deal, attorney Kevin Nash, whose firm represents Ben Ashkenazy, Izzy Ashkenazy and Igus, said the contempt motions were “being resolved.”

Anglo Irish originally filed suit in 2010 alleging that Izzy Ashkenazy and Jonathan Igus, the principals of Igus Ventures, defaulted on an $11.4 million loan for a Boca Raton property. That case resulted in a judgment of $3.4 million. Anglo Irish was awarded a separate judgment of $1.6 million in connection with loans at a Texas property and one in Florida. Those judgments were unrelated to Ben Ashkenazy.

Anglo Irish sold those defaulted loans to Lone Star, the Dallas-based fund that acquired distressed debt from the Irish lender. According to the suit filed Dec. 11 by Lone Star and Wells Fargo, Ben Ashkenazy has allegedly ignored subpoenas issued to get additional information and restraining notices served in April and May.

The lenders also allege that contempt motions are pending in New Jersey where Izzy and his wife are residents.

Ben Ashkenazy did not return calls, nor did lawyers for the lenders. A spokesperson for Wells Fargo said the bank could not comment at this time.

In December, Ashkenazy was reportedly in contract to purchase the Marriott East Side hotel for $290 million.

(Corrections were made to this story at 5:24 pm, Dec. 22)