Gladstone, Heiberger settle $100M libel suit

Developer recouped modest fee: sources

Robert Gladstone (yellow) and Andrew Heiberger (blue) with 212 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Getty Images)
Robert Gladstone (yellow) and Andrew Heiberger (blue) with 212 Fifth Avenue (Credit: Getty Images)

Was it a stunt? A statement? Either way, developer Robert Gladstone has dropped his $100 million libel suit against Town Residential and Andrew Heiberger.

Lawyers for the two parties said the action had been discontinued with prejudice in a letter sent Tuesday to Judge Gerald Lebovits.

The CEO of Madison Equities alleged in March 2017 that the brokerage executive defamed him and tried to “poison public sentiment” against him, as the two sparred over the marketing agreement for 212 Fifth Avenue, a condo conversion Madison is co-developing. At the time, a spokesperson for Town described the suit as “bullying and intimidation” and “insanity.”

The damages were later capped at $800,000, according to court filings.

Richard Schoenstein, an attorney for Gladstone, declined to disclose what he said was a modest settlement fee paid to Gladstone. “The matter has been resolved with a payment to my clients,” he said. “They are pleased with the result and happy to move on.”

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In an earlier lawsuit filed in January 2017, Madison sued Town in a move to force the now-shuttered brokerage off the 48-unit conversion at 212 Fifth. The development team — a partnership between Madison Equities, Building and Land Technology and Thor Equities — claimed Town missed sales targets. But Town said the developer withheld more than $2.5 million in commissions, held back units and concealed pending offers from the sales team.

That suit was dismissed May 2017, and the cap on damages in the libel case may have been part of the settlement. In return, Heiberger agreed to forego counterclaims or claims against Gladstone.

“I wish Bob the best of luck in selling out 212 Fifth Avenue and with his next venture Downtown,” Heiberger said Wednesday, referring to Madison’s planned supertall at 45 Broad Street.

Earlier this month, Sotheby’s International Realty slashed the price of the top penthouse at 212 Fifth to $73.8 million from $62.8 million.

Sales at 212 Fifth launched in August 2015. Some of the buyers include Charlie Kushner and Ed Bass.