Investor Abraham Leifer is once again suing over a piece of his 220,000-square-foot Downtown Brooklyn assemblage, which is already slipping from his grasp. This time, the head of Borough Park-based Aview Equities claims seller Henry Lieberman breached their contract by taking the property he had agreed to buy for $44 million, and marketing it to Leifer’s own potential investors for $3 million less.
In court papers, Leifer claims he was working with “a small, tight knit, insular and financially capable real estate investor group” to help finance his purchase of 15 Hanover Place, which he entered into contract in late 2015 to purchase from the Lieberman Group for $44 million.
The roughly 9,400-square-foot corner lot, which has an alternate address of 283 Livingston Street, has a three-story, 37,500-square-foot building on it, and has a total of 93,800 square feet of development rights.
Leifer at the time had contracts with optometrist Harry Blaustein to buy an adjacent property 275-281 Livingston Street for $18.5 million, as well as one with John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group for a property at 291 Livingston Street for $10 million. Red Apple sold that site earlier this month for $11.1 million to Eli Karp’s Hello Living, as The Real Deal reported last week.
All told, the properties held more than 220,000 square feet of development rights, which the investor planned to develop into an office-and-retail project.
Leifer claims that after he took Lieberman to court last year, the two extended the closing date to early February. But while Leifer was working to bring investors on board, Lieberman was secretly going behind his back and marketing the property for sale at a $3 million discount to those potential investors, his lawsuit claims.
“[Lieberman] knew that members of the investment group who had committed to invest in the property at a purchase price of $44 million would back out of their commitment if the property were offered to them at the substantially lower price of $41 million,” read Leifer’s complaint, which his attorneys filed in Kings County Supreme Court earlier this week.
When reached for comment, Lieberman referred all questions to his attorney, who could not be immediately reached. Leifer’s attorney, Darren Oved of Oved & Oved, declined to comment beyond what was stated in the complaint.
Leifer is suing to get back his $2 million down payment, as well as other costs and punitive damages.
Last summer, he filed a lawsuit against Lieberman in August, claiming the seller did not provide estoppel certificates – or certifications from tenants verifying details of their leases – in a timely manner, and therefore was not “ready, willing and able” to close the deal.