The Real Deal New York

GFI employee says Allen Gross is stiffing him on 5% stake in Ace Hotel

John Saric claims he is owed at least $540K
By Katherine Clarke | March 31, 2017 02:00PM

Allen Gross and the Ace Hotel (Credit: Ace Hotel)

John Saric, a vice president of development at GFI Development, says company boss Allen Gross is trying to cut him out of his ownership stake in the trendy Ace Hotel in NoMad.

Saric slapped Gross with a lawsuit Friday, alleging Gross has failed to cough up any distribution related to his 5 percent stake in the project, despite repeated requests. He claims he’s owed $540,000 in Ace Hotel profits held back by Gross, just for the 2015 calendar year.

A spokesperson for GFI did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations and Saric’s lawyer was not immediately reachable.

Saric alleges that he and Gross formed a joint venture in 2006 for the purpose of developing the Ace, at 1186 Broadway. He says the venture is now worth approximately $130 million, making his stake worth $6.5 million.

Those calculations are based on the Ace’s net operating income, which was $10.8 million in 2014, according to the complaint.

Saric wants a judge to Issue A Court order compelling Gross to issue him a membership certificate as well as monetary damages.

The lawsuit is not the first among the owners of the Ace. In 2012, Gross battled with partner Andrew Zobler, CEO of the Sydell Group, over management of the hotel and other assets in New York and California.

Zobler, a former CIO for Andre Balazs Properties, claimed that Gross was cutting him out of deals, while Gross claimed Zobler wan’t doing his fair share of the work.

That litigation was dismissed shortly thereafter.

GFI recently secured a loan package of $181 million for the newly completed Beekman Hotel and the condominium tower.