The Real Deal New York

How a scammer socialite tried to be Aby Rosen’s tenant

Anna Delvey planned private club, but lied to lenders: report
May 29, 2018 06:31PM

Anna Delvey, Aby Rosen and 281 Park Avenue South (Credit: Getty Images and Wikiepedia Commons)

Before Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty leased 281 Park Avenue South to Swedish photo center Fotografiska last year, a mysterious German socialite reportedly tried to rent the property.

Anna Delvey — who according to a new report in New York magazine bilked friends and acquaintances out of thousands of dollars — was on a quest to open a Soho House-type arts club with locations in New York, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong and Dubai.

The apparent socialite, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, told acquaintances that she had “secured the lease” for the club at the 45,000-square-foot building on the corner of 22nd Street.

In pursuit of making her club a reality, she connected with some big names in the architecture and real estate world. Former RFR Realty executive Michael Jaffe introduced her to food-and-beverage big shots like André Balazs and Richie Notar, one of the founders of Nobu, according to the magazine. And Gabriel Calatrava, son of the famed architect Santiago Calatrava and Jaffe’s boss, helped her land the building through the family’s advisory company, Calatrava Grace, or so Sorokin claimed.

Sorokin envisioned having three restaurants, a juice bar and German bakery on the site. The total project was estimated to cost $25 million.

She soon tried to secure a $22 million loan from City National Bank for the site, claiming to have a net worth of 60 million Euros. She also tried to line up a $25 million to $35 million loan from Fortress Investment Group, according to New York. But after Fortress decided to send employees to Switzerland to check up on her claims, she ditched the application.

After being denied the financing from City National, Sorokin had gotten wind that another party, rumored to be Fotografiska, would land the space. “How do they even pay for that?” Sorokin said to New York. “It’s like two old guys.”

At one point, Aby Rosen’s son Charlie paid a visit to 11 Howard, where Sorokin had been staying (RFR also developed the hotel). When Neffatari Davis, a concierge at the hotel and acquaintance of Sorokin, mentioned the planned club, Charlie looked confused. He asked what room Sorokin was staying in, and when Davis told him, he said: “If my dad has someone buying property from him staying here, would she be in a Deluxe or would she be in a suite?”

All the while, Sorokin was racking up unpaid bills at several New York City hotels and a private jet company, in part with the help of forged wire transfer receipts. Her scheme started unraveling in late 2016, according to the report.

Sorokin was arrested last summer on charges of larceny and attempted grand larceny and is currently locked up in Rikers Island.

Meanwhile, Fotografiska is set to open its first New York location, which includes a restaurant, at 281 Park Avenue South. [NY Mag] — Konrad Putzier