Ex-Macklowe exec alleges proceeds withheld from West 55th Street building sale

Harry Macklowe and 125 West 55th Street

Harry Macklowe’s former deputy filed a $21 million lawsuit last month alleging the billionaire real estate mogul failed to share the proceeds from the sale of 125 West 55th Street to Boston Properties.

Warren Cole, who worked for Macklowe from 1988 to 1999, filed suit in New York State Supreme Court Jan. 15, alleging Macklowe either kept the profits for himself or paid it to his family members. The complaint was just made available in public records.

Macklowe sold the property for $443 million in 2008, according to Cole’s complaint, which noted that the property was saddled with a $200 million mortgage.

“Cole has not received his 9 percent of the partnership’s assets, which he believes to be worth in excess of $21 million,” lawyers for Cole wrote in the suit.

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Macklowe’s son William Macklowe, who ousted his father as head of Macklowe Properties and later left the company to launch a new firm under his own name, was a member of the partnership that owned 125 West 55th Street, according to Cole’s complaint. William was not named in the case.

This is not the first such dispute between the two executives. In 2009, a Supreme Court judge ruled that Harry must pay $3.4 million plus another $3.1 million in interest to Cole for the 1990s sale of three buildings: 245 Seventh Avenue, 1412 Broadway and 3 East 54th Street.

Cole originally filed suit in 1999, alleging that Macklowe owed him $20 million from the sale of 21 different buildings.

Macklowe declined to comment through a spokesperson. Attorney Robert Forman, who represents Cole, was in court today on the case and was unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for Boston Properties was not available for comment.