Developer Donald Zucker has been hit with ten lawsuits from a parking garage operator who says Zucker is trying to ruin his company.
In ten nearly identical lawsuits filed on Thursday, Select Garages principal Aaron Katz alleges that Zucker embarked on a “scheme of retribution and harassment” against his company after he refused to vacate a lease at 95 Worth Street so that Zucker could sell the property.
When Katz requested fair consideration, Zucker “flew into a tirade, promising to harass and ‘ruin’ him,” the lawsuit states.
“You little motherf***ing runt. You better return all the leases back to me because you are finished in New York,” an enraged and red-faced Zucker allegedly told Katz, according to the lawsuit. “You think you can hold me up? Who the hell do you think you are? You are done here. You are ruined in New York!”
Select Garages had recently signed five-year leases for 10 properties owned and managed by Zucker through his firm, Manhattan Skyline, after previous operator Icon Parking was evicted for missed rent payments.
The leases began on August 1, and Zucker issued notices of default on all 10 properties on the same day, the lawsuit states. The notices claimed that Select Garages’ signage violated terms of the lease, despite the fact that a rider attached to the lease explicitly allowed such signage. Icon Parking had also used similar signage at the locations for decades.
Manhattan Skyline, for its part, denied all of the allegations in the lawsuit, which it said are “akin to a publicity stunt.”
“Having made repeated, rejected attempts to remedy the situation with our tenant, we are outraged at this ploy to defame Mr. Zucker,” a spokeperson for the company said in a statement. “Select Parking did not comply with their lease that required landlord’s right of approval and did not get necessary required permits for the signage they illegally installed against the landlord’s protests.”
In the lawsuit, Select Garages acknowledges that it does not yet have permits for its signage: “Tenant is actively taking steps to obtain signage permits, but because of City backlogs, said permits cannot be reasonably obtained for at least six months.”