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
Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
Wells Fargo hit with $400M suit for breach of contract linked to robo-signing scandal
124 South Middle Neck Road in Great Neck, Long Island and Hornig Capital Partners Managing Partner Daren Hornig (Google Maps, Hornig Capital)
Size, security, transparency: Great Neck apartment project delayed following local pushback
Size, security, transparency: Great Neck apartment project delayed following local pushback
The slowing of the housing market has squeezed the profit margins of house-flipping investors. (iStock)
Profit margins on fixer-uppers fall to 10-year low
Profit margins on fixer-uppers fall to 10-year low
The Saratoga County construction company owner defrauded homebuyers and lenders out of $1 million, spending money on himself or other jobs rather than the homes he promised to build. (iStock)
Upstate homebuilder gets prison for failing to deliver
Upstate homebuilder gets prison for failing to deliver
Quick turnaround times have luxury buyers considering modular as an alternative to traditional construction for grandiose homes. (iStock)
Modular construction works for luxury homes, too
Modular construction works for luxury homes, too
Ardie Tavangarian (Photo by Kevin Scanlon)
LA’s gentleman builder on developing for the ultra-wealthy
LA’s gentleman builder on developing for the ultra-wealthy
495 Hoffman Lane in Hauppauge and Beechwood Organization CEO Michael Dubb (Google Maps, Belmont Child Care)
Luxury senior living could replace shuttered Hauppauge school
Luxury senior living could replace shuttered Hauppauge school
66 University Place (Google Maps)
Grove Press building to be pulverized by luxury condo development
Grove Press building to be pulverized by luxury condo development
arrow_forward_ios

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

Loading...