The Real Deal New York

Lawyer who repped church in Azimuth deal accused of stealing $600K from it

Harlem church agreed to let Azimuth construct a resi building on their site
July 27, 2018 10:00AM

John Shasanmi and 11 W 116th St (Credit: Myspace and Google Maps)

The lawyer who brokered a deal for a Harlem church to let Azimuth Development Group construct a residential building on their land stands accused of stealing $600,000 from the institution.

The Second Providence Baptist Church hired John Shasanmi in 2014 to broker a deal between them and Azimuth, according to the New York Post. Azimuth would pay the church to build on their West 116th Street property, and the church would still occupy the bottom three floors.

Azimuth paid the money, and although Shasanmi was supposed to hold $600,000 in escrow, he instead put the money in his personal checking account, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He is also accused of sending forged Citibank statements to the church to cover his tracks.

Shasanmi pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of grand larceny and possession of a forged instrument.

Azimuth filed plans at the end of 2017 to construct a mixed-use building with 30 residential units on the site. It would stand 12 stories tall and span about 51,000 square feet, with the church occupying just over 11,000 square feet. [NYP]  – Eddie Small