ISG founding partners finalize breakup: Craig Studnicky takes over brokerage

Philip Spiegelman gets control of $82M New Orleans mixed-use project
By Francisco Alvarado | March 19, 2019 04:30PM

Craig Studnicky and Philip Spiegelman

The ugly legal battle between the two founders of International Sales Group that sullied their partnership and threatened the Miami luxury brokerage’s existence has ended.

Former business partners Craig Studnicky and Philip Spiegelman settled dueling lawsuits last month, after Spiegelman allegedly crashed ISG’s holiday party and accosted one of the firm’s brokers, according to court documents reviewed by The Real Deal. Spiegelman had sought court intervention in an attempt to dissolve ISG, while Studnicky counter-sued his ex-partner for failing to repay more than $1.8 million he lent the brokerage to keep it afloat.

Studnicky’s lawyer Robert Stok said terms of the settlement are confidential, but that his client will control and manage ISG and Spiegelman gets the development rights to an $82 million mixed-use project in New Orleans the duo had announced in 2016.

“We reached an amicable resolution,” Stok said. “My client wishes Mr. Spiegelman the best.”

Spiegelman and his attorney Juan Martinez did not respond to phone messages and emails requesting comment.

Since the lawsuits were filed last summer, it seemed Studnicky and Spiegelman would fight each other in court until the bitter end, raising concerns ISG was in jeopardy. Spiegelman accused Studnicky of gross mismanagement, including burning “through large amounts of cash,” retaining unnecessary staff and racking up expenses with clients “who are continually late in reimbursing ISG.”

In his countersuit, Studnicky alleged Spiegelman’s “overbearing narcissism and obnoxious personality” pushed a third founding partner to leave the firm and that he “alienated himself from every major client” ISG had. Studnicky also accused Spiegelman of having substance abuse problems and being unable to make capital calls due to a “financially devastating divorce.”

As recently as January, Studnicky was still hurling salacious claims against Spiegelman. In a motion for temporary injunction, Spiegelman allegedly showed up unannounced to ISG’s Dec. 20 holiday party at Timo Restaurant in Sunny Isles Beach. “His presence made all the attendees extremely uncomfortable,” the motion states. “Given the obvious discomfort at the party, Studnicky, and others, asked Spiegelman to leave the party, but he refused to do so.”

Spiegelman sat at a table eating and drinking by himself and then confronted ISG sales associate Lian Oteiza, who had given a deposition against him related to the lawsuits, the motion alleges. “Spiegelman grabbed Oteiza’s arm aggressively, yelled at her that she was fired and then shoved her when she attempted to evade his advances,” the motion states.

Spiegelman, the motion claims, left voluntarily after police officers were called to the restaurant. Stok declined to comment about the holiday party allegations, citing the settlement. He added: “It doesn’t make sense to bring up past unpleasant situations.”