The Science, Language and Arts International School in Downtown Brooklyn offers classes in Mandarin and French, but allegedly failed to speak a language its landlord understands: money.
Crown Acquisitions, led by the Chera family, filed a lawsuit this week in New York State Supreme Court alleging that the private school owes $6.1 million in back rent and $18.4 million in accelerated damages.
The school inked a 10-year lease to lease 40,000 square feet at 9 Hanover Place in June 2018, according to court documents. Its annual rent started at $1.87 million and increasing throughout the term of the lease, with that figure going to $2.4 million by the 10th year. The school subsequently subleased one floor to a separate charter school.
But the landlord claims that the school has been behind on its rent payments since at least October 2018. Crown sent the school a notice of a lease termination in February, according to court documents, but it claims that the school has since refused to vacate.
The Science, Language and Arts International School was founded by Jennifer Wilkin in 2011, and has another location at 132 4th Place in Carroll Gardens. Tuition for its preschool starts at $28,100 and goes up to $32,500 for the six through eighth grades, according to its website.
Wilkin and attorneys for the school did not immediately return a request for comment.
Crown is one of the largest developers in New York and owns some of the most prominent retail properties along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. The firm’s co-founder Stanley Chera died in April 2020 of complications from the coronavirus at age 77. The firm’s day-to-day operations are now overseen by his sons Isaac and Richard.
An attorney for Crown Acquisitions declined to comment.