Alex Sapir moves to dismiss Rotem Rosen’s $100M lawsuit

Rosen’s lawsuit claims he saved the Sapir Organization from the brink of bankruptcy

For a period of several weeks this fall, it seemed the ugly battle between Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen might be moving toward a resolution.

The former brothers-in-law and business partners have been locking horns in court for almost a year over a claim an entity named ASRR – of which Rosen is a 50 percent part owner – made that it’s owed more than $100 million from the estate of Alex’s late father, the real estate mogul Tamir Sapir. To force payment, Rosen alleged last summer that Alex was mismanaging the estate.

In November, Sapir agreed to settle that claim, agreeing to put $55 million into an escrow account managed by JPMorgan pending resolution of the original $102 million claim, court documents show. The parties also had agreed to a phone call on Jan. 27 to hash out details of a discovery request in Rosen’s initial suit, according to emails shared with The Real Deal.

But on the eve of that meeting, lawyers for Sapir filed a motion for summary judgement, effectively asking the court for a final ruling on Rosen’s lawsuit.

In the motion, the attorneys alleged Rosen’s claims against the estate were based entirely on “fatally vague oral statements.” What’s more, Rosen agreed to a “broad general release” of claims in 2018 when he and Sapir terminated a business partnership they had formed several years prior.

In a statement, Sapir’s attorney Terrence Oved of Oved & Oved said he is hopeful the suit will be dismissed.

Rosen’s attorney, Sheron Korpus of Kasowitz Benson Torres, dismissed the most recent filing as “without merit” and said it was part of a strategy by Sapir to delay providing documents that could hinder his defense.

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11 Madison Avenue (Credit: 42 Floors)

11 Madison Avenue (Credit: 42 Floors)

As former CEO of the Sapir Organization, Rosen has said that he played a key role in saving it from bankruptcy and executing some of its largest deals, including the $2.6 billion sale of 11 Madison in 2015. During those years, he also was married to Zina Sapir, the daughter of Tamir, and Alex’s sister.

But familial ties between Rosen and the extended Sapir family frayed in recent years. In 2017, Alex Sapir decided to end a business partnership with Rosen, agreeing to pay Rosen $75 million to walk away, court documents said. In April 2019, Zina Sapir filed for divorce from her husband of 12 years.

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Last winter, Rosen filed a lawsuit against the estate of Tamir Sapir, alleging he was owed money for work he did in 2014 and 2015, and had been shorted compensation for his work after a “falling out” with Alex. In addition, he claimed he was instrumental in saving the business after the late real estate magnate defaulted on loans during the 2008 financial crisis.

At the center of the lawsuit is an entity, ASRR, which Rosen and Alex Sapir formed in 2011. They are 50-50 partners in the company, according to the motion for summary judgement Sapir filed this week.

After Tamir’s death in 2014, the motion claimed, Rosen kept working for the company and received “distributions” ranging from $11,000 to $12,000 a week. His expenses included a private plane and “exorbitant dining, lodging, entertainment and travel reimbursement for ‘business meetings’ around the world,” the suit said. “However, nothing seemed to be enough for Rosen.”

Erin Hudson contributed reporting.