Former 45 John owner files for Chapter 11

Chun Peter Dong seeking relief to fight lawsuits with creditors and former attorney
By Kyna Doles | July 21, 2016 04:14PM

45 John Street

45 John Street in the Financial District

The former owner of 45 John Street, a long-stalled and unfinished condo conversion in the Financial District, is facing more financial woes.

Chun Peter Dong and a group of more than a dozen Asian investors, operating under the entity 45 John Lofts LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday in an effort to recover millions of dollars they claim they were swindled out of by Brooklyn investor Miller and his right-hand man Sam Sprei.

The entity’s total liabilities are close to $10 million, court records show, even after the building sold for $73 million earlier this year to an LLC controlled by investor Alexander Levin. Miller and Levin are also investors in the Beekman Tower.

Miller once had a minority stake in 45 John Lofts, but he later tried to sell the building without Dong’s knowledge, according to a 2015 bankruptcy case for the buyer in contract, Orin Management.

When Dong learned of the pending sale, he sued Miller for allegedly embezzling the $14.3 million down payment he received from Orin to fund his own real estate portfolio.

The Asian investors were eventually awarded $4 million from the sale of 45 John, and Dong was granted $1.5 million as part of the settlement agreement in Orin’s bankruptcy case. Miller was also ordered to transfer his interest in the 45 John Lofts to Dong, according to court documents.

The lion’s share of proceeds from the sale, at least $53 million, was awarded to Madison Realty Capital TRData LogoTINY, who held the debt on the property.

But the claims against 45 John Lofts have continued even after the sale, and Dong is seeking bankruptcy protection to recover money he says was “fraudulently transferred,” and to pursue a malpractice lawsuit against his former attorney.

Representatives for Dong couldn’t be reached for comment.