The Real Deal New York

Family feud: Rosenberg siblings tussle over Manhattan office properties

Rose & Berg Realty head Aron Rosenberg accused of using company as his "personal piggy bank."
By Christian Bautista | October 18, 2018 09:00AM

28-32 West 36th Street and Aron Rosenberg (Credit: Google Maps and LinkedIn)

Real estate executive Aron Rosenberg is facing a $3 million lawsuit from a brother who claims he was cut out on the profits of a Manhattan office portfolio.

Rosenberg, the head of family-run commercial landlord Rose & Berg Realty Group, was sued by his brother Michael, who has stakes in several Rose & Berg-owned entities. His shares in the LLCs range from 20 percent to 50 percent, according to the lawsuit. The entities mentioned in the complaint owns assets such as 28-32 West 36th Street, 22 West 39th Street and 22 West 23rd Street. The largest piece of the package is the West 36th Street property, a 12-story, 58,200-square-foot building that sits between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

“Aron, as managing member of the Companies, has unilaterally decided to no longer treat Michael as a member,” the complaint read.

According to the lawsuit, Michael stopped receiving distributions in 2017. in response, he attempted to gain access to the company’s books, an effort that was blocked by his brother. The dispute escalated to the point that Aron sold a $9 million asset unilaterally and refused to give his brother his 24.2 percent cut from the sale, the lawsuit claims.

Aside from the ownership dispute, Michael is accusing Aron of misappropriating Rose & Berg’s holdings. According to the lawsuit, Aron used family assets as his “personal piggy bank.” He allegedly authorized improper distributions to himself and used company funds to finance his other businesses. Aron was also said to have “acted against the company’s best interest” by giving himself a discount on the space he rented at the West 39th Street property for one of his other companies. Aron did not respond to requests for comment.

Aside from $3 million in compensatory damages, Michael is seeking punitive damages to be determined at trial. He is also requesting an injunction that would prevent his brother from withholding proceeds and access to the company’s books.

Rose & Berg owns properties in New York, New Jersey and South Florida. The company is currently building the Gateway at Wynwood, a 12-story, 464,700-square-foot office project in Miami. The development was one of the largest projects proposed in the area last year.

Morrison Cohen’s Y. David Scharf, the counsel for Michael Rosenberg, did not return requests for comment.