Bond New York founders Bruno Ricciotti and Noah Freedman, and an entity they used to sign a lease for their brokerage’s Tribeca office, are being sued by their landlord for allegedly breaking their lease.
The landlord at 25 Hudson Street, Benjamin Partners, is seeking damages in excess of $1.1 million. For their part, the Bond founders say the suit is without merit and that they were within their rights to terminate the lease.
In December 2006, Bond signed an 11-plus-year lease with Benjamin Partners to take a portion of 25 Hudson Street’s ground-level commercial condo, according to a complaint filed late January in New York State Supreme Court.
But the brokerage “breached its lease obligations” to Benjamin Partners, the landlord claims, and “abandoned the lease premises without justification” this past November despite its lease term running through April 2018, according to the suit.
Benjamin Partners, which owns commercial properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is seeking a minimum of $1.1 million in unpaid rent plus interest and late fees from the shell corporation Bond used to sign the lease, as well as a minimum of $86,000 plus legal fees from Ricciotti and Freedman personally – as the two men were personal guarantors on the lease, the suit claims.
In a statement, Bond said the brokerage “was perfectly within its rights in terminating its tenancy early in the ninth year of its lease.” Sources said the firm had a “good guy clause” on its lease, which would allow it an early exit provided the premises was vacated in good condition.
“Bond believes that the complaint is without merit,” the brokerage added, saying that it “expects to file an answer in the coming weeks.”
A spokesperson from Benjamin Partners declined to comment.
Bond’s monthly rent for the location jumped from nearly $21,700 in January 2013 to more than $25,100 by the time the company vacated the space in November 2015, per the suit. By the final year of the lease, the brokerage’s monthly rent would have risen to nearly $29,100 per month.
The lawsuit says the lease for Bond’s roughly 3,000-square-foot space was modified in 2010 through rent abatements and “accommodations” made by Benjamin Partners “in light of [Bond New York’s] economic troubles, at the time.”
Bond, which Ricciotti and Freedman founded in 2000 after working at Citi Habitats, is headquartered at 1776 Broadway in Midtown, with additional offices in Union Square, Chelsea and on the Upper East Side.