Forest City suing restaurant group for $1.1M in unpaid rent

Solomon and Jacob Ben Moha are the guarantors to the Liberty Diner in Times Square

Liberty Diner NYC
Liberty Diner at 234 West 42nd Street in Times Square (credit: TripAdvisor)

Forest City Ratner is suing the guarantors of a Times Square restaurant that it claims has it failed to pay more than $1 million in rent, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York State Supreme Court.

The Downtown Brooklyn-based real estate development firm brought suit against Jacob and Solomon Ben Moha of Benmoha Restaurant Group, who are guarantors to the Liberty Diner in Times Square.

The restaurant is located at the base of Forest City’s 306,000-square-foot retail and entertainment complex at 234 West 42nd Street, where it has operated alongside AMC Theaters and Dave & Buster’s since 2009.

Forest City claims the diner “began defaulting” on its rent obligations in June 2015, and sent a notice in August threatening to terminate the restaurant’s lease by the end of February. The landlord said it then sent a notice of default in October giving the tenant 15 days to pay nearly $630,000 in back rent.

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Forest City subsequently served the Liberty Diner with a lease termination notice early last month, according to the suit. While the diner allegedly provided a “partial payment” of $112,500 in wake of the notice, Forest City did not waive the termination of its lease.

The landlord is now suing for more than $1.1 million in rent that it is owed through end of the restaurant’s lease in February, the suit specifies. Forest City claims the Ben Mohas, as the restaurant’s guarantors, are liable for the money allegedly owed, plus attorneys’ fees.

Legal representatives for Forest City did not return requests for comment. Benmoha Restaurant Group could not be reached for comment.

Benmoha Restaurant Group was also responsible for bringing Famous Dave’s BBQ to 234 West 42nd Street — though that restaurant has since closed.