Joe Sitt, Bert Dweck settle Madison Ave dispute with fashion house
Yves Salomon had accused Thor of keeping $360K deposit, ignoring judgment
UPDATED June 28, 2022, 4:06 p.m.: A two-year legal dispute over an allegedly unreturned $360,000 security deposit has been settled.
Yves Salomon came to terms Tuesday with Thor Equities’ Joe Sitt and Premier Equities’ Bert H. Dweck, ending a lawsuit in which the fashion house had accused them of keeping the deposit after its lease expired at 790 Madison Avenue.
The lawsuit “is hereby discontinued with prejudice without costs to either party as against the other,” read a notice of discontinuance filed in Manhattan. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed, but Yves Salomon told the federal court that the judgment, interests and costs have been fully paid.
“We are thrilled to have assisted our client recoup the money it was owed and are happy that this dispute is now in the rear view mirror,” said Adam Michaels, a lawyer for the retailer, in a statement.
in a joint statement from Yves Salomon, Joe Sitt and Bert Dweck, the retailer withdrew its claim that the landlord had diverted funds to personal accounts.
“Yves Salomon has withdrawn all allegations and assertions of any wrongful acts by Joe Sitt and/or Bert Dweck,” the statement read in part.
Sitt said in a separate statement that he and his firm, Thor Equities, “would never disrespect a tenant or any company, whether we do business with them or not.”
Yves Salomon paid its security deposit to East 33rd Realty LLC, an entity owned by Sitt that served as the fashion retailer’s landlord, when the Paris-based tenant opened its first New York City location at 790 Madison Avenue in 2015. Dweck was Thor’s director of leasing at the time and responsible for receiving such payments, the lawsuit claimed.
When Yves Salomon’s lease expired and the company vacated the space in March 2020 — as the pandemic shut down New York — Sitt allegedly did not give back the security deposit and ignored an inquiry into the payment’s return.
Yves Salomon sued East 33rd Realty LLC in federal court later that year to recover the deposit, but Sitt allegedly did not respond and last August the court awarded the retailer more than $400,000 — the deposit, plus 9 percent interest and other costs.
For a company like Thor that routinely does deals for tens of millions of dollars, the judgment was a pittance. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the tenant could not get the company’s attention, let alone a check, even through post-judgment discovery and a subpoena, according to a second lawsuit filed earlier this month in Manhattan.
One possibility is that responsibility for the account shifted or fell through the cracks after Dweck joined Premier Equities in 2017. “We did not manage this property, account, or the monies, but are glad it’s been mutually resolved,” Sitt said in his statement without elaborating.
In their state action, Yves Salomon’s lawyers subpoenaed East 33rd Realty LLC’s bank records and alleged that Sitt, the account’s sole managing member, transferred close to $600,000 to himself and Dweck’s Jensen Equities LLC as far back as 2019.
That left insufficient funds in East 33rd Realty LLC’s account to pay back the security deposit, Yves Salomon’s lawyers had claimed.
This has been updated with a statement from an attorney for Yves Salomon.