Ben Ashkenazy threatened to “go nuclear” on Century 21 family: lawsuit

Developer, Gindis trade accusations in fight over joint ventures

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)

UPDATED Dec. 22, 2020, 2 pm: Real estate developer Ben Ashkenazy told the family behind Century 21 that he would “go nuclear” on them for wrecking his business, according to a recent lawsuit.

Ashkenazy and the Gindi family are in a heated legal battle over their joint investments in real estate. In the lawsuit, Isaac, Eddie and Raymond Gindi of ASG Equities allege the billionaire developer engaged in illegal conduct with their investments. The Gindis claim Ashkenazy owes them at least $21 million, according to the suit, filed in Manhattan, Crain’s reported.

Ashkenazy, meanwhile, has his own lawsuit against the Gindis, accusing them of spreading rumors about him and misappropriating funds.

The issue arose when Ashkenazy asked the Gindis to provide millions of dollars in cash to rescue their investment properties from possible bankruptcy, according to Crain’s. The Gindis refused to pay despite having a contractual agreement, according to Ashkenazy. But the Gindis allege that Ashkenazy never provided the financials of the properties.

The family members, known for the Century 21 retail chain, which filed for bankruptcy in September, are 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 allegedly told Raymond Gindi that he would “go nuclear if I need to because you destroyed my business,” according to the Gindis complaint.

The Gindis also allege Ashkenazy misappropriated money and withheld shared profits, according to their lawsuit. This includes 1991 Broadway where Ashkenazy allegedly took $1 million of the Gindis’ investment that was overfunded and put it toward the acquisition of another building also owned by the Gindis, according to the complaint.

Marc Kasowitz, an attorney for Ashkenazy Acquisition, said in a statement to The Real Deal, “Ashkenazy sued the Gindis because they failed to meet capital calls during the pandemic despite making millions in profits for many years prior to the pandemic. Now, the Gindis, whose main business is in bankruptcy, have filed counterclaims making completely unfounded excuses for their failure to pay. Their desperate claims will fail.”

[Crain’s] — Keith Larsen

This story has been updated to include a statement from an attorney for Ashkenazy Acquisition.