The Real Deal New York

Eretz boss claims Lightstone locked him out of his synagogue after $182M deal

Abe Talassazan's suit says developer immediately hit him with a notice to vacate
January 02, 2015 03:45PM

The Eretz Group’s Abe Talassazan filed a lawsuit against the Lightstone Group, alleging that he was locked out of his office and synagogue after selling a Garment District office building to the development firm for $182 million. Talassazan claimed Lightstone assured Eretz that the seller could remain in their offices at the building for as long as six months. The 16-story, 236,000-square-foot property at 485 Seventh Avenue, between West 36th and 37th streets, contains a small synagogue.

But shortly after the deal closed in November, Talassazan claimed Lightstone hit him with a notice to vacate. He was then prevented from attending services at the synagogue on the first day of Chanukah. “They left them in the lobby, subjected to humiliation as they awaited the police,” according to the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court as cited by the New York Daily News. “They intentionally interfered with persons seeking to exercise the right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship.”

Lightstone did not comment to the newspaper. The Eretz Group is seeking $5 million in damages as well as access to its offices. [NYDN]Mark Maurer