The Real Deal Miami

Miami mogul faces New York court woes

August 18, 2008 05:03PM

A Midtown Manhattan hotel deal could mean a default judgment against Leon Cohen, the Miami Beach developer behind the Empire World Towers project, a controversial high-rise approved in January. New York State Supreme Court Judge Walter Tolub last week said that Cohen, his father Maurice Cohen and other defendants have engaged in potentially fraudulent practices in the redevelopment of the Flatotel in Midtown Manhattan. Cohen, his family and their companies borrowed $92 million in 1991 to fund the acquisition of the Flatotel. The plaintiff, lender CDR Creances, received a security interest as part of consideration for the loan. The suit alleges that Maurice Cohen orchestrated the unauthorized transfer and eventual sale of shares of stock in which CDR held a security interest, without CDR’s knowledge.