Sitt Asset matriarch gets pulled into brothers’ battle

Eddie Sitt plans to file new suit against brothers Ralph and David
By Kyna Doles | January 15, 2016 04:30PM

Eddie Sitt of the investment firm Sitt Asset Management isn’t letting up on claims that his brother Ralph Sitt squeezed him out of the family business in an attempt to gain full control of its holdings. He’s now gearing up to sue his his brothers Ralph and David Sitt for a second time, and is taking legal action against his mother, Marilyn.

Sitt Asset, formed in 2001 between brothers Eddie, Jack, Ralph, David and Marilyn, controls commercial properties across Manhattan, including its 362,000-square-foot crown jewel at 2 Herald Square.

A previous lawsuit Eddie filed against Ralph, David and Sitt Asset was dismissed without prejudice in December over what he said were “technicalities”.  Eddie claims Ralph tried to drag their mother into the suit and delay the case. Now, Eddie says he is ready to submit the new complaint, after serving his mother with a necessary demand letter — a legal document that will allow him to continue with the suit — despite his earlier efforts to “protect her” from the dispute between the four brothers.

“This is all just to comply with Ralph’s delay tactics,” Eddie told The Real Deal Friday. “My parents are too precious to us to involve them in the suit.”

Nearly a year after Jack — who is allied with Eddie in their battle against the other brothers — first sued Ralph and David, he is also making new claims that the pair formed the company Status Capital to misappropriate and divert funds from Sitt Asset. The investment company, which operates out of the same office as Sitt Asset, was formed in April 2015, according to New York Department of State records. In October, Status paid  $48 million for a retail condominium at the base of 45 East 80th Street, and sold a commercial building at 1113 Spring Street for $70 million, which Jack claims was purchased under Sitt Asset in 2012.

Jack alleges in court documents reviewed by TRD that Ralph and David “reaped a windfall by using Sitt Asset properties to procure substantial benefits for Status Capital.” He also claims that Status’ website “misleadingly advertises” properties as being part of Status’ portfolio, when in fact they are owned by Sitt Asset.

“Perhaps most troubling, Ralph has resorted to fraud and forgery,” Jack states in the court papers. He alleges Ralph falsified documents to show he was the sole member of the entity that owns 2 Herald Square, giving him “unilateral control” of the property.

Stephen Meister, an attorney who represents Ralph and David, dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”

“Ralph is a good guy and he’s made hundreds of millions of dollars for his family, and he hasn’t diverted a dime,” Meister said. He added that it was the other way around: that Ralph did all the deals “and his brothers take credit for it.”

Eddie indicated that despite the legal wars him and Jack were having with Ralph, they still felt warmly about him.

“We still love him,” Eddie told TRD, “as he is after all our brother.”