Lawsuit: Toby Moskovits, Michael Lichtenstein owe investor $3M

Shaul Kopelowitz claims developers only repaid half of loan; Moskovits fires back

Jan.January 15, 2020 04:15 PM
Heritage Equity Partners Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein

Heritage Equity Partners Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein

Developers Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein owe an investor about $3.3 million, he alleges in a lawsuit that suggests they repay him with their stakes in LLCs.

Shaul Kopelowitz’s suit says he lent Moskovits and Lichtenstein $6 million and has only received about $3.1 million back. In addition to Moskovits and Lichtenstein, it fingers six LLCs linked to Brooklyn properties at 227 Grand Street, 96 Wythe Avenue (the Williamsburg Hotel), 19 Kent Avenue, 215 Moore Street, 232 Seigel Street and 564 St. John’s Place.

Moskovits, Lichtenstein or both are members of each LLC, and the properties they own are worth $585 million overall, according to the lawsuit. Moskovits’ ownership stake in them totals at least $178 million, the suit says.

The lawsuit demands that Moskovits and Lichtenstein pay Kopelowitz the $3.3 million and use their interest stakes in the LLCs to do so if necessary.

Kopelowitz’s attorney Jeffrey Fleischmann did not respond to a request for comment.

Moskovits released a statement saying that Kopelowtiz’s claims in this case are based on false documents.

“It is unfortunate that Shaul Kopelowitz and his attorneys continue to rewrite history in order to attempt to extort money,” she said. “It is plainly obvious that the documents Kapelowitz filed are fraudulent on their face, and therefore invalid. The facts clearly demonstrate this. Mr. Kopelowitz has a long history of aggressive and extortionate behavior, and we look forward to proving every bit of that in court.”

Kopelowitz is a Brooklyn-based investor who has made several mid-market purchases in New York, including 273 West 131st Street in Harlem, which he bought in 2015 for about $14.9 million, and 1692 and 1706 Union Street in Crown Heights, which he bought in 2016 for $15 million.

The Williamsburg Hotel was headed for receivership in October after Moskovits’ Heritage Equity Partners defaulted on a $68 million mortgage and could not find refinancing. Kopelowitz filed a request Tuesday to intervene in that case — one day after filing his lawsuit against Moskovits and Lichtenstein — as part of his attempt to recoup the $3.3 million he claims they owe him.

Lichtenstein filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last year at 227 Grand Street through the entity MY2011 Grand LLC, which is not one of the entities listed in the lawsuit. He then filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case earlier in January.

Kopelowitz is also the defendant in a lawsuit filed in Rockland County that accuses him of using various LLCs to commit racketeering and fraud.

Kevin Sun contributed research.

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