Victor Sigoura, the former chief investment officer of the Naftali Group, has withdrawn his lawsuit against his ex-boss Miki Naftali and apologized for the hullabaloo it caused.
Sigoura and Drew Popkin, the Naftali Group’s former head of acquisitions, had sued Naftali in June, alleging he refused to pay them their agreed-upon share of profits from deals they had worked on. Naftali fired back with his own lawsuit, accusing the duo of stealing confidential information from the developer and betraying his trust and mentorship.
Sigoura and Naftali have now ceased their suits against each other, court records show, and Sigoura said the parties have reached an amicable settlement. Popkin and Naftali are still pursuing legal action against each other, however.
“Circumstances combined with wrong influences got to my head, and as a result I made some bad judgment calls,” Sigoura wrote in an apology letter to Naftali, which was seen by The Real Deal. “This is not in character with my upbringing nor the way I wish to lead my life.” In an interview with TRD on Wednesday, Sigoura expressed regret that the two sides had been so quick to litigate.
Naftali told TRD that Sigoura “came to the realization that he did some really bad things.”
“He just lost his direction, unfortunately, and hopefully, he has it back,” Naftali said. He insisted that the settlement did not involve him paying Sigoura any bonus or profit participation whatsoever.
“I’m happy they resolved their differences amicably,” said Stephen Meister, the attorney for Sigoura.
Sigoura and Popkin left the Naftali Group in June to form Highpoint Property Group, an investment firm that would focus on ground-up condominium development and multifamily rental deals. Sigoura said Wednesday that he is no longer a principal at Highpoint, and has instead formed his own firm, Legion Investment Group. The firm, which will operate from a space on Madison Avenue, will also focus on residential development and investment.
Popkin, however, is going it alone at Highpoint, he confirmed in an interview Wednesday. He has already signed a lease in the Flatiron District, at 20 West 22nd Street, he said, and has hired “several employees.”
Naftali, the developer behind projects such as 210 West 77th Street and 275 West 10th Street, said he’d soon be hiring replacements for Sigoura and Popkin. The developer has been one of the more prominent voices on the softening of the luxury market, but said opportunities were beginning to arise, particularly on the lending side.
“The reality is that if you don’t find the value in equity and investing deals, you might find the value in lending,” he said. “The commercial banks are very cautious about who they lend to, which creates an opportunity for those of us that feel the market is not as bad as some people think.”