Safra sues Eddie Sitt for late mortgage payment

Sitt Asset Management co-founder says suit is “retaliation” for his family feud

TRD New York /
Apr.April 16, 2015 04:01 PM

Eddie Sitt is accusing Safra Bank, led by the billionaire Safra family, of stepping into his family feud.

Safra Bank is suing Sitt Asset Management co-founder Eddie and his wife Carolyn, after the couple made a mortgage payment on their Brooklyn home about two weeks too late. The bank is asking for the entire $4.3 million loan back, but Eddie claims that the suit is “retaliation” for his battle with Ralph Sitt, who partnered with the bank on several deals.

Eddie and Carolyn bought their two-story, 7,500-square-foot home in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn in 1997, down the block from his brother Ralph. The couple took out two mortgages — one for $1.3 million and one for $3.1 million — with Safra. The couple failed to pay Safra the monthly installment payment of principal and interests, according to documents filed in New York State Supreme Court earlier this week.

“We view Safra Bank’s suit as retaliation for Eddie’s suit against Ralph Sitt and other defendants,” Eddie’s attorney Joseph Lipari told The Real Deal Thursday, “and as an attempt to strong-arm Eddie into withdrawing his suit. We plan to defend [against] the Safra bank suit vigorously and we fully expect that it will be dismissed at an early stage.”

Eddie will not drop the suit against his brothers, Lipari added. Safra’s attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In 2011, Eddie had been in talks with Safra’s Jacob J. Safra to discuss going into business together, according to court documents. When Eddie proposed that idea to his brothers, both fellow principals at the eponymous firm, Ralph allegedly rejected it. Several months later, however, Ralph “secretly and without authorization took money from the bank account of Sitt leasing LLC” to purchase 450 Broadway. With the profits from that sale, Ralph bought seven Safra-owned properties, according to the court documents, Including 145 Spring Street for $26 million.

In February, Eddie sued to remove his brothers Ralph and David from Sitt Asset, and is seeking $30 million in damages, as The Real Deal reported. In that suit, Eddie accused his brothers of excessive spending of the company’s budget for their personal use, including $12,000 in 2013 and a $6,000 monthly payment to lease a Bentley.

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