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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Paul Manafort’s son-in-law files for bankruptcy protection for four LA properties

Jeff Yohai, a spec developer, is also accused of running a Ponzi scheme in New York

December 23, 2016 11:40AM
By Cathaleen Chen

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Paul Manafort and a rendering of Jeff Yohai’s project at 1550 Blue Jay Way (Credit: Getty, Marin West)

Try explaining this one to the father of the bride.

The son-in-law of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed for bankruptcy protection for four of his Los Angeles properties, a move that comes on the heels of a lawsuit that accuses him of running a Ponzi scheme in New York.

Jeffrey Yohai, a spec house developer and husband to Manafort’s daughter Jessica, is declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy for LLCs tied to four residential properties, including homes in Bel Air and the Hollywood Hills. All the properties are in the midst of foreclosure proceedings.

All four properties were scheduled for trustee’s sales in late December, but those sales will be postponed due to the bankruptcy filing, according to bankruptcy expert Adam Stein-Sapir of Pioneer Funding Group, who is not involved in the matter.

Manafort, who was pushed out of the Trump campaign in August after weeks of poor poll numbers, is listed as a creditor on least one of the filings. He holds a $2.7 million claim on the home at 779 Stradella Road, which last traded for $8.5 million in March, documents show.

Yohai defaulted on $5.9 million in loans attached to the property and was slapped with a default notice on in late August, according to property records.

It’s unclear whether Yohai’s bankruptcy filings in L.A. are related to the lawsuit brought against him in November, in which he was alleged to have orchestrated a Ponzi scheme.

In the lawsuit, Guy Aroch, a Manhattan-based photographer, accused Yohai of scamming him out of $3 million. Aroch said he agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in a real estate partnership with Yohai nearly two years ago, but has yet to see any returns. Instead, he alleged that Yohai had misused investments from him and others for personal travel and lavish purchases, according to the suit, which was filed in a Manhattan Federal Court.

Yohai and his attorney, Marc Forsythe, could not be immediately reached for comment. All four of the properties associated with the bankruptcy filings are projects of his company, Marin West.

The other three properties are located at 1550 Blue Jay Way in the Bird Streets and at 2541 Nottingham Avenue and 2521 Nottingham Avenue near Griffith Park.

 

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