Just weeks after splitting to start their own firm, Victor Siguora and Drew Popkin are suing their former employer the Naftali Group, alleging the developer failed to pay them their agreed-upon share of profits from deals.
Sigoura and Popkin are collectively seeking damages of at least $8 million, and are suing both the Naftali Group and its founder and CEO Miki Naftali.
As part of their compensation package, they were promised a base salary, a performance-based bonus, and a “profit participation” payment based on net realized profits from the Naftali Group’s development projects — 5 percent for Sigoura and 2.5 percent for Popkin, according to the summons filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court.
Sigoura was the firm’s chief investment officer, and Popkin the head of acquisitions. The duo, now principals at Highpoint Property Group, allege that Naftali failed to make these profit participation payments and as such violated the terms of their employment contracts. When asked for comment Thursday, Naftali told The Real Deal that the suit had no merit.
When they departed the Naftali Group in early June, Sigoura and Popkin praised Naftali and said their exit came with no hard feelings — a sentiment that was echoed at the time by Naftali.
But circumstances appear to have changed since then. “We’re hoping it [the exit] would be amicable, and we gave Mr. Naftali every opportunity to be amicable,” said Stephen Meister, attorney for Sigoura and Popkin. “But he is not being amicable and is not honoring his agreements.” Meister added that while Sigoura and Popkin worked at Naftali, they had been receiving a share of the profits. The complaint does not specify what projects Sigoura and Popkin believe they are owed money on.