Michael Stern accused of “duping investors” in Monad Terrace project

JDS called the filing, which seeks $10M, “an abuse of the legal system”

Michael Stern accused of “duping investors” in Monad Terrace project
Michael Stern with Monad Terrace (MonadTerrace.Miami)

Minority investors in Michael Stern’s Miami Beach condo project filed a summons against his development entities, seeking $10 million.

Limited liability companies linked to Ariel Ackerman’s Ackerman Development and Daniel Minkowitz’s Mink Development, investors in Stern’s waterfront luxury condo project at 1300 Monad Terrace in Miami Beach, filed the summons in New York State court. A complaint has not been filed.

The plaintiffs allege that Stern has a “pattern and practice of duping investors” to back his projects “only for Stern to explode the project costs without authority, and siphon off the money, value, and publicity of the project for his own benefit through a variety of tactics in blatant violation of negotiated contractual and other legal rights,” according to the summons.

In a statement to The Real Deal, Stern’s firm, JDS Development Group, denied the claims, calling them “baseless allegations asserted in what amounts to an unfortunate publicity stunt” created by Minkowitz and Ackerman, “principals of a series of entities who are currently attempting to stave off their creditors.”

New York court records filed earlier this year show Minkowitz failed to pay a nearly $1.3 million judgment in a separate case.

The statement further alleged that the summons was “an abuse of the legal system” to distract those seeking to collect on judgments unrelated to the Monad Terrace project.

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Neither the plaintiffs’ attorney nor Minkowitz, who is also an agent at Corcoran Group, responded to requests for comment.

When the developers closed on the land acquisition in 2015, Minkowitz’s stake was valued at about 10 percent, according to an ownership chart recorded in public records.

1300 Monad Terrace was completed nearly a year ago. The 59-unit boutique condo building was designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel in collaboration with architect Kobi Karp. Nouvel, a Pritzker Prize-winning architect, sued the developer in 2018 over alleged non-payment. The case was dismissed last year.

The Mink and Ackerman entities allege that Stern, through his companies, committed breach of contract, international and willful misconduct and gross negligence.

Other partners in the project included New Valley, an investment firm owned by Douglas Elliman parent Vector Group. Fifty-two units have been sold to date, according to Miami-Dade County property records.

Stern has been increasingly active in South Florida, and is working on a major mixed-use development in Brickell that was approved for 2.5 million square of development with 1,000 rental apartments, 200 micro units, a 200-room hotel and 250,000 square feet of office space.