UPDATED, Dec. 13, 2:58 p.m.: The developers of a Union Square residential building have accused Ben Shaoul of interfering with his condo project.
A group of investors, led by Ariel Rom, filed a lawsuit against Shaoul, claiming that the property mogul delayed progress at 809 Broadway, the Commercial Observer reported. Shaoul owns a neighboring building at 813 Broadway, so Rom needed his permission to do any work above the property.
Initially Shaoul asked for $250,000 in exchange for his permission, but the two developers eventually cut a deal in November 2015 for an undisclosed sum. When the Department of Buildings instructed Rom to demolish a damaged wall — work that would’ve required crane work above 813 Broadway — Shaoul allegedly stalled the work until Rom agreed to pay an additional $20,000 per month.
Shaoul also allegedly offered to buy the 15-story project for “well below” the $50 million Rom poured into it. He later gave Rom an ultimatum: either sell the building to him or he would take him out of business, according to the lawsuit. He also allegedly bet $1 million that he could delay the project for a year.
Shaoul, however, said that Rom caused extensive damage to his property when workers accidentally spilled concrete into his building, displacing both businesses and residents. Shaoul told The Real Deal that the gas and electricity is still shut off in the building after the mishap. He said Rom is unfairly trying to move forward with his project before Shaoul can remedy the issues at his building.
“We didn’t ask for this. We’re the victims here,” Shaoul said. [CO] — Kathryn Brenzel