The seizure of the two trophy towers in Manhattan — 650 Fifth Avenue and the Park Lane Hotel — and the Department of Justice’s imperfect track record when it comes to real estate has some wondering: Are federal officials punching above their weight?
For the cover story this month, The Real Deal dove into the complex world of civil forfeiture — a tactic favored by federal prosecutors, in part, because of its lower burden of proof and the potential payoff it offers victims. Officials have increasingly used civil forfeiture to go after white-collar criminals, targeting real estate due to its association with money laundering.
“The reason why they go often to the civil forfeiture tool is because it’s easier to prove,” said Evan Barr, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District who is now a white-collar defense attorney at Fried Frank. “A criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt — a much higher standard.”
Meanwhile, the issue also takes readers inside Google’s takeover of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District and the fierce competition among newbie commercial brokerages to elbow their way into a market that’s largely dominated by three established firms. A profile of HNA Group documents the conglomerate’s meteoric rise and fall — an arc that spans all of three years.
There’s also a ranking of the city’s most active architects.
To read the March issue of TRD, click here or on the “Magazine” tab on the top left of the homepage. Enjoy! — Kathryn Brenzel