Bentley Zhao’s New Empire hits Town with $250M defamation suit

New development brokerage sued for $2.4M in unpaid fees on July 19

New York /
Jul.July 30, 2018 03:00 PM

A rendering of the tower at 141 East 47th Street and Bentley Zhao

Bentley Zhao’s New Empire Real Estate has slammed Town New Development with a $250 million defamation lawsuit after the brokerage firm said it was owed $2.4 million in fees.

In an eight-page complaint dated July 27, New Empire said Town’s claims were “untrue, false, slanderous and defamatory.”

What’s more, the suit claimed, the “malicious” nature of Town’s accusations had “damaged the plaintiff’s business reputation,” impairing its ability to obtain financing and market projects, and causing New Empire to lose profits.

Town sued entities tied to the Sunset Park-based development firm earlier this month, claiming it failed to pay a $210,000 consulting fee and a $2.2 million termination fee — both related to work on a planned condominium at 137 East 47th Street.

The July 19 suit alleged the developer refused to pay up after suspending a 2016 sales exclusive with Town at the Turtle Bay condo project. It also claimed the developer transferred the property from one limited liability company to another, rendering the first — with which Town had an agreement — insolvent.

In a statement, New Empire said Town’s lawsuit had “tarnished” its reputation when, in fact, it has proven to be a “more than capable” developer over the years. It currently has $1 billion worth of real estate projects in the pipeline, including several hundred million dollars worth that is shovel ready.

“We are confident that we will prevail as the facts will be uncovered and the timeline will prove,” said Anthony Santiago, chief operating officer.

A spokesperson for Town said the firm had “no knowledge or understanding where the lawsuit is coming from,” and only learned about the “outrageous claim” from a reporter.

In April, Town shut down its leasing and resales business and said it would primarily operate as a new development brokerage.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: Amy Schumer and 190 Riverside Drive; Jimmy Fallon and 34 Gramercy Park East (Getty Images, Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0 - via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)
Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer selling Manhattan pads
Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer selling Manhattan pads
OKO's Vladislav Doronin and the Crown Building ( OKO Group, Aman)
Crown Building notches another peak sale with $55M condo
Crown Building notches another peak sale with $55M condo
Naftali Group's Miki Naftali, BRP Companies' Meredith Marshall (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
Miki Naftali, Meredith Marshall talk development, death of 421a
Miki Naftali, Meredith Marshall talk development, death of 421a
R-L: Willow's Kevin Danehy, Era Ventures' Clelia Warburg Peters, Fifth Wall's Brad Greiwe and The Real Deal's Hiten Samtani (Photo by Paul Dilakian)
Real estate tech is coming for your business
Real estate tech is coming for your business
A photo illustration of a crystal ball predicting future home prices (iStock)
Home sales, building to slow: Fannie Mae
Home sales, building to slow: Fannie Mae
Gary Barnett
Gary Barnett has something to say
Gary Barnett has something to say
New York skyline
Rising interest rates will dampen city’s investment sales market this year
Rising interest rates will dampen city’s investment sales market this year
L-R: Douglas Elliman CEO Scott Durkin, Serhant CEO Ryan Serhant, Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freedman, The Real Deal's Hiten Samtani (Photos by Paul Dilakian)
Top resi execs talk brand building, tech and politics at TRD NYC event
Top resi execs talk brand building, tech and politics at TRD NYC event
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...