A syringe, a bite, and now a ruling in ex-partners’ 10-year feud

No elevator’s big enough for former United Realty execs Jacob Frydman and Eli Verschleiser

Eli Verschleiser and Jacob Frydman with 866 UN Plaza (Levcos, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Jacob Frydman, 866unp, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)
Eli Verschleiser and Jacob Frydman with 866 UN Plaza (Levcos, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons, Jacob Frydman, 866unp, Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty Images)

A decade-old New York real estate soap opera — involving, in part, a former executive allegedly biting an ex-business partner — came to a partial close last week.

The Manhattan commercial division handed down a ruling last Wednesday in the sprawling legal battle between former United Realty executives Eli Verschleiser and Jacob Frydman.

Judge Joel Cohen dismissed three of four counts in which Verschleiser, who was United Realty’s president, alleged that its former CEO, Frydman, committed fraud after a deal between them went south.

The rift began in 2011 after Verschleiser and Frydman’s attempt to acquire 866 United Nations Plaza did not pan out.

Verschleiser alleged that Frydman had used business entities for personal benefit. The pair then sought to end their working relationship by negotiating a purchase and sale to divide their assets.

The agreement turned out to be anything but.

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Verschleiser sued Frydman in 2013, alleging that Frydman had colluded with Verschleiser’s lawyer during negotiations, defamed Verschleiser to investors and stole Verschleiser’s computer servers.

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Last Wednesday Cohen dismissed the fraud and conversion claims, leaving one count for breach of contract.

“Our [client’s] successful motion to dismiss means that our [client’s] defenses held water,” Leo Jacobs, Frydman’s attorney, said via email, adding that the remaining claim should soon be resolved in Frydman’s favor.

The remaining count claims that Frydman breached the purchase and sale agreement. But Frydman alleged in a federal lawsuit in 2014 that Verschleiser breached it by engaging in “cyber misconduct.”

A hearing will determine whether the case will move forward in federal court.

Neither Verschleiser — who can appeal the latest ruling — nor his attorney commented on the case. When The Real Deal called the number the attorney provided for Verschleiser, the man who answered said it was the wrong number.

During the nearly 10 years that the initial lawsuit has dragged on, at least two other suits cropped up between the erstwhile partners.

In 2018, Frydman claimed that in January of that year Verschleiser attacked him in an elevator after interrupting a deposition. That same suit, which is ongoing, alleges that according to affidavits, Verschleiser had spoken about blackmailing Frydman and hiring people to inject him with a syringe of LSD.

A year later, Verschleiser filed his own suit regarding the events of that day, claiming that Frydman bit Verschleiser “like a rabid dog,” court documents show. That lawsuit is also active.