Related files “emergency” request for $5.3M in back rent from Hugo Boss

Retailer’s attorneys say developer’s legal filing is a “stunt”

Related CEO Jeff Blau and Hugo Boss in Shops at Columbus Circle (Getty)
Related CEO Jeff Blau and Hugo Boss in Shops at Columbus Circle (Getty)

Related Companies has filed an emergency affirmation to collect $5.3 million in back rent from Hugo Boss, along with nearly $700,000 in monthly rent for the retailer’s store at the Shops at Columbus Circle.

“It is inherently and manifestly inequitable and prejudicial for the multibillion-dollar luxury retailer to arbitrarily decide not to pay its rent while occupying, using and doing business,” wrote Howard Kingsley, an attorney at Rosenberg & Estis who is representing Related, in the affirmation, which was filed three days before Christmas. He added that Hugo Boss cannot use the space “rent free.”

In support of the filing, Related’s attorneys submitted a receipt from Dec. 21 for the purchase of a dark blue piece of clothing, size XXL, marked down 40 percent, for $212.05.

Attorneys for Related did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Lawyers for the German luxury fashion retailer fired back in a filing, calling the request an “improper, frivolous pre-holiday stunt.”

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Such applications for emergency relief, they argued, are usually to prevent irreparable harm, such as destruction of property, from taking place during pending litigation — not to collect money.

Attorneys for Hugo Boss declined to comment.

In the order to show cause, filed on Christmas Eve, presiding New York State Supreme Court Judge Joel Cohen took a pen to the request for rental arrears and future rents, striking out all mention of the rent relief request, and writing “provisional relief denied” in the margin. He has not yet issued a decision.

The lawsuit is one of six such claims Related filed in October at the Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center, which was shut down by state order to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Related filed individual lawsuits against Hugo Boss for $4.2 million, the Running Specialty Group for $1.05 million, Cole Haan for $920,813, Michael Kors for $774,880, Tumi Stores for $241,003 and Fairway LLC for $291,438.62. In some cases, the retailers have not paid rent since March.

Hugo Boss swiftly countersued the landlord, arguing that its $692,000-per-month lease should be rescinded because of those restrictions. The retailer noted that the store was closed from March until Sept. 9.