Tahari strikes back at Normandy with legal summons

Designer wants $25M, citing "interference" with 88 University Place acquisition
By Rey Mashayekhi | August 11, 2015 08:30AM

Fashion designer Elie Tahari struck back at Normady Real Estate Partners in relation to his acquisition of 88 University Place in Greenwich Village, seeking at least $25 million from the developer for ‘interfering” with his purchase of the property.

Normandy sued Tahari and developer Gerald Rosengarten over its unsuccessful bid to acquire the 11-story, 75,000-square-foot building’s ground lease from Rosengarten, as well as a $70 million purchase option with the property’s owner, Himmel + Meringoff Properties.

Normandy, which is seeking no less than $10 million in damages, claims that Rosengarten opted to sell the building to Tahari a day after it signed a letter of intent on the deal – effectively using Normandy’s bid as “a stalking horse to get Tahari to sign a contract,” according to its lawsuit.

Now Tahari, whose rival bid for 88 University Place amounted to around $100 million, is responding with a summons claiming “knowing and improper interference” by Normandy. He’s seeking no less than $25 million in damages from the New Jersey firm.

Normandy’s action has interfered with Tahari’s “ability to close on financing from a lender” with whom he was scheduled to secure funding from for the acquisition late last month, according to the summons filed July 29.

An attorney for Tahari declined to comment on the matter. Stephen Meister of Meister Seelig & Fein LLP, who representing Normandy, called the summons filing “ludicrous” and “bereft of merit,” describing it as a “a placeholder for negotiation.”

Normandy recently partnered with Princeton Holdings, Sciame Development and Royalton Capital to acquire a 160,000-square-foot industrial property in Bushwick with plans for an office, retail and restaurant complex. Rosengarten has also been caught in a $50 million legal dispute with his Bowery Hotel co-owner, Richard Born.