She wanted a piece of the Haruvi empire. She got an eviction notice instead

Lawsuit widens rift within real estate dynasty

From left: Peter Hungerford, Shai Segev, and Michelle Haruvi
From left: Peter Hungerford, Shai Segev and Michelle Haruvi (Getty, LinkedIn, Zillow)

The Haruvis are no strangers to family drama. Now, a new lawsuit pits a daughter against the rest of the real estate clan.

Michelle Haruvi — the daughter of Arthur Haruvi, part-owner of a 500-apartment portfolio in Manhattan — wants a New York court to open up the books on a transaction in May that shook up her family’s property empire.

She is counting her money before her parents have passed away.

She is suing a trio of Haruvi-owned companies for allegedly cutting her out of the business after part of the family portfolio was sold to Peter Hungerford’s PH Realty Capital for $139 million. The deal netted Arthur’s brother, Abe, a buyout of $80 million, according to a lawsuit she filed last week.

Hungerford sees it as a money grab by Michelle Haruvi.

The lawsuit is a “disgusting display of greed,” he told The Real Deal. “She is counting her money before her parents have passed away. I mean, it’s really repugnant.”

Hungerford said that while the transaction involving the family’s real estate portfolio was complex, it was vetted by lawyers at multiple firms, noting that Arthur spent $1.5 million in legal fees to protect the Haruvi family’s interests, including Michelle’s.

Acrimony between Abe and Arthur Haruvi during the pandemic, when vacancy rates soared in Manhattan, brought the business to a standstill. The brothers could not agree on how to refinance debt on the portfolio, and Arthur took Abe to court, alleging financial wrongdoing.

But the breakup of the Haruvi holdings traces back to before the pandemic.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In her lawsuit, Michelle cites a 2019 meeting with a broker named Shai Segev, who was working with Hungerford and being considered for a management role with Haruvi properties.

Michelle’s sister, Aileen, informed her by the end of 2020 that Segev, Hungerford, Abe and Arthur were discussing a deal to buy out Abe’s ownership stake and leave Hungerford to manage the family’s business.

Read more

But the details were kept from Michelle, whose persistence in trying to get them caused a new round of familial discord. Her mother and sister repeatedly told her to stop asking for information, to the point of threatening to cut her out of her inheritance, the lawsuit alleges.

Michelle, who lived in San Francisco while Abe’s buyout was being negotiated in New York, claims the ultimate transaction failed to honor discussions she had with her father about her having a role in managing the family’s real estate.

This spring, Michelle learned that a full restructuring of the Hauvi portfolio had taken place, facilitated by Hungerford and Segev. In May, she met in New York with her parents, who acknowledged the buyout but nothing else. Her uncle, Abe, confirmed the buyout later that day.

Michelle continued to seek information, this time from lawyers, but her mother told her if she did not stop she would be “thrown out” of her family-owned apartment. In September, Michelle received eviction notices signed by Hungerford.

“She is in eviction,” Hungerford said. “She doesn’t have a lease, and her family doesn’t want her occupying a $10,000-per-month pied-à-terre.”

Lawyers for Michelle Haruvi did not respond to requests for comment. Arthur Haruvi did not respond to requests for comment. Abe Haruvi declined to comment.