Daughter’s challenge to Haruvi portfolio sale goes down in flames

“At best, hyperbole”: Judge rags on heiress’ claims

Daughter’s Legal Challenge to Haruvi Real Estate Deal Fails
From left: Michelle Haruvi and Peter Hungerford along with 1107-1109 First Avenue, 114 East 71st Street and 244 West 74th Street (Getty, LinkedIn/Michelle Haruvi, Wordpress/Peter Hungerford, Google Maps)

A legal gambit launched by a member of the Haruvi family has failed to unwind the partial sale of her family’s real estate empire.

Michelle Haruvi’s own text messages undermined her case, a New York judge found.

“If you were ever confused about the definition of entitlement, I think she fits it”

Peter Hungerford on Michelle Haruvi

The messages were uncovered after Michelle, who sued her father and his business partner in 2022 to undo the transaction, claimed she was blindsided.

“Michelle’s own communications demonstrate unequivocally that she firmly understood” the $165 million proposal to refinance her family’s 500 apartments in New York, according to the judge, who called her claims “at best hyperbole.”

The Haruvi family traces its real estate wealth back to the 1960s, when the father of Arthur and Abe Haruvi began amassing properties. His sons carried on the business after the patriarch died in the 1990s. For the last 30 years the portfolio was managed by family offices in Manhattan and Florida, where Abe resides.

But tension mounted when the family set about refinancing and reorganizing the portfolio.

Michelle Haruvi sent messages to her uncle Abe Haruvi starting in 2021 to oppose the deal. At the time, Abe owned 50 percent of the portfolio. The remainder was divided between Arthur Haruvi and his daughters, Michelle and Aileen. The debt on the portfolio was coming due and many tenants had cleared out when Covid arrived in New York.

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Abe was not dissuaded by Michelle’s pleas and walked away with an $80 million buyout from the refinancing proceeds. Michelle particularly opposed the deal’s transfer of a 5 percent ownership stake to landlord Peter Hungerford.

Michelle had messaged her uncle to “use [Hungerford] as long as we need him,” while claiming she wanted to “save the business from parasites,” according to the court’s decision.

Hungerford now manages the portfolio, which runs from the Upper East to Upper West sides and from Murray Hill to Midtown West. He took a dim view of Michelle Haruvi’s actions in the case.

“If you were ever confused about the definition of entitlement, I think she fits it,” Hungerford said in a phone interview. “We spent a million and half dollars up front on attorneys and tax advisers to structure this in a very fair and safe and legal way, not just for us but for Michelle as well.”

Beyond Abe’s $80 million payday from the $165 million transaction, $53 million refinanced the portfolio’s senior debt, $19 million went to capital improvements and $12 million covered closing and reserve costs.

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Hungerford looks poised to deliver another blow to Michelle in housing court, where an eviction hearing is scheduled in mid February to oust her from a Haruvi family apartment on the Upper West Side.

“There’s really nothing stopping that train,” said Hungerford. “She doesn’t have a lease and she’s not a tenant. Being estranged and suing her family members doesn’t really get her favor.”

Michelle did not return a request for comment. She lives full time in San Francisco, according to Hungerford.

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