UPDATED, April 29, 1:28 p.m.: A Midtown-based commercial broker is suing Kuafu Properties and investor Myles Horn, claiming they squeezed him out of a commission on the $261 million purchase of the upper floors at 1 MiMA Tower.
Ronald Shakerdge, head of Republic Realty Services, is suing for $7.83 million, or the 3 percent commission fee he claims he’s owed from representing Kuafu and Horn in a deal to acquire the top 13 floors of the tower, which Kuafu is converting into condos, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court.
Horn declined to comment, but Kuafu CEO Shang Dai said the claim is baseless.
“It is not true he represented Kuafu,” he emailed The Real Deal. “We do not know who he is, and we never did meet or speak to him.”
According to the lawsuit, Horn acted as the lead partner to buy the top floors at 460 West 42nd Street and hired Shakerdge in July 2014 to approach the Related Companies about a sale.
Shakerdge said Horn signed a confidentiality agreement and committed to paying the brokerage fee, but when the deal looked like it was wrapping up in November, the investor said he wanted to “clarify” the agreement and offered to pay a $50,000 finder’s fee, the lawsuit alleges.
Horn later upped the offer to $250,000, according to the suit, but Shakerdge “rejected that offer and likewise again rejected Horn’s attempt to characterize [his] role as that of a ‘finder’ rather than a licensed real estate broker.”
Shakerdge claims Horn cut off communication in January, and that the broker only learned of the deal when it was reported publicly in July that Kuafu was the sole buyer.
The broker says he called to follow up with Horn, who said he was bound by a confidentiality agreement from discussing the deal, but acknowledged he received a “substantial payment” from Kuafu as reimbursement for legal costs on the deal.
Shakerdge allgedges that before the transaction was closed, Kuafu took over the role of sponsor. Kuafu and partner Shanghai Construction Group America are planning a total sellout of $414 million for the property’s 151 apartments.
This post was updated to include a comment from Kuafu.