CalSTRS claims law firm owes $1M in back rent at Brentwood office

Pension fund files lawsuit against Braunstein & Braunstein over 5K sf lease

CalSTRS' Cassandra Lichnock and 11755 Wilshire Boulevard (Getty, Loopnet, CalSTRS)

CalSTRS’ Cassandra Lichnock and 11755 Wilshire Boulevard (Getty, Loopnet, CalSTRS)

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is going after one of its law firm tenants in Brentwood, claiming almost $1 million in back rent. 

An entity linked to LaSalle Investment Management, which manages the building at 11755 Wilshire Boulevard on behalf of CalSTRS, filed a lawsuit against Braunstein & Braunstein, claiming the law firm owes $920,000 in back rent plus interest that is still accruing under a lease for about 5,000 square feet, according to a court complaint filed with L.A. Superior Court. 

CalSTRS has owned the building since 1996, according to property records filed with L.A. County. The building is currently about 31 percent vacant, PropertyShark listings show, with annual asking rents between $58.20 and $65.40 per square foot. 

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Braunstein & Braunstein is still in “possession of Suite 1600 in the property and their unpaid balance continues to accrue as further sums come due and owing under the lease,” the asset management firm said in its complaint. 

The law firm has leased 2,500 square feet at the building since 2013, according to a copy of the lease filed with the court, and jointly signed the deal with Eklipse Ventures International, a real estate development firm run by Phillip Braunstein. 

In 2018, the lease was amended to double Braunstein & Braunstein’s space at the building. Under the new lease, the law firm agreed to pay about $295,000 in annual rent in 2019, increasing every year by about 3.5 percent. By January, annual rent increased under the lease to $339,000, or about $65.40 per square foot a year. 

Suing tenants over owed rent is not unusual, though more of these lawsuits were filed in 2020 and 2021, when L.A. County’s commercial eviction moratorium was in effect. Commercial tenants had until April 30 to repay any back rent that accrued while the moratorium was in place.