Billionaire developer Ben Ashkenazy in feud with investor over reputation, cash

Developer filed a lawsuit against the Gindi family, which founded Century 21

From left: Ben Ashkenazy, 1991 Broadway, 2067 Broadway and Samuel Gindi (Getty; Google Maps)
From left: Ben Ashkenazy, 1991 Broadway, 2067 Broadway and Samuel Gindi (Getty; Google Maps)

Billionaire real estate developer Ben Ashkenazy claims the family behind the bankrupt retailer Century 21 has diverted money from him and damaged his reputation.

In a suit filed in New York State Supreme Court, Ashkenazy alleges that the Gindi family, which founded Century 21, falsely accused him of stealing millions of dollars from their company, Crain’s reported. The developer alleges that it was actually the Gindis who diverted money from their business for personal gain.

The dispute arose when Ashkenazy asked his real estate partners to pay $9 million in cash to make up for income that would normally come from rent, according to Crain’s. The Gindis are passive investors in seven of Ashkenazy’s North American properties including four commercial units at 1991 Broadway, retail space at 2067 Broadway and a retail building in Queens.

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Ashkenazy made capital calls for the seven properties to its investors where the Gindi family’s share totaled $4.5 million. But the family refused to give Ashkenazy any money, Crain’s reported, citing the complaint.

Without the money, the future of the properties is uncertain, according to Crain’s. Ashkenazy alleges the Gindis’ refusal to put down cash is actually an attempt to buy these properties at a discount, according to Crain’s, citing the complaint.

Additionally, Ashkenazy alleges Raymond, Eddie and Isaac Gindi told their sons-in-law and other real estate players, including Joseph Cayre of Midtown Equities, that Ashkenazy stole millions from them. Ashkenazy denies this, according to the suit.

[Crain’s — Keith Larsen

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