Raymond Gindi wins Round 1 in battle against Vornado

Vornado sued Gindi for breaking deal to return Century 21 to Queens mall

Raymond Gindi wins first round in battle against Vornado
Gindi Equities' Raymond Gindi and Vornado's Steve Roth (Gindi Equities, Getty)

Raymond Gindi, whose family founded Century 21, won the first round of what could be a lengthy legal battle against Steve Roth’s Vornado Realty Trust.

Vornado sued two Gindi-affiliated LLCs and Raymond Gindi last year alleging they breached a deal to return Centruy 21 an anchor tenant to Vornado’s Rego Center mall

Vornado claims it funded part of the Gindi’s bid to buy the intellectual property rights of Century 21 so they could reopen their flagship store in Lower Manhattan. In exchange, the retailer was supposed to sign a lease at the Queens shopping center they exited during bankruptcy.

The Gindis claimed they were not required to re-sign a lease at Rego Center. Rather, a different company, Legends Hospitality, runs and operates the flagship Century 21 store in Lower Manhattan, they argued in court filings.

Vornado sought to go after Raymond Gindi personally, claiming it was Gindi who negotiated the agreements. Gindi’s lawyer called it harassment.

Raymond Gindi wins first round in battle against Vornado
Oved & Oved’s Terrence Oved

Raymond Gindi wins first round in battle against Vornado
Oved & Oved’s Darren Oved

But in a recent 18-page ruling, New York state judge Margaret Chan dismissed ​​all of Vornado’s claims against Raymond Gindi.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“Nothing in the plaintiffs cursorily-asserted allegations shows a manifestation of intent attributable to Raymond Gindi’s own conduct or control,” said Chan in the ruling. 

Terrence Oved and Darren Oved of Oved & Oved, counsel for Raymond Gindi said, “By rejecting Vornado’s baseless claims and transparently coercive tactics, the court’s decision wholly vindicates Mr. Gindi.”

Vornado declined to comment. 

Its claims against the two Gindi-affiliated LLCs, however, can still move ahead. Those claims center around deals struck amid Century 21’s bankruptcy

The beloved department store co-founded by Raymond’s father Al Gindi in 1961 suffered along much of the brick and mortar retail industry during the pandemic. In September 2020, Century 21 and its affiliated LLCs filed for bankruptcy. 

The move allowed the company to ditch its leases with the exception of its flagship store in Lower Manhattan. In order to keep the store operating, the Gindis and Vornado’s Haim Chera allegedly reached a deal where Vornado would fund 40 percent of the costs to buy Century 21’s intellectual property. The Gindis allege they paid back Vornado shortly after they struck the deal. 

Vornado is among the largest commercial real estate landlords in New York City, with an ownership stake in 20 million square feet of office properties in Manhattan. 

Raymond Gindi is the co-founder of Gindi Equities, which focuses on multifamily properties and has $300 million of assets under management. 

Gindi has also been embroiled in a multi-year lawsuit with retail landlord Ben Ashkenazy. Ashkenazy sued members of the Gindi family for defamation and refusing to fund capital calls. The Gindis alleged Ashkenazy was the one who owed them money.

Read more

Century 21 president Marc Benitez (LinkedIn; iStock)
Return of the retailer: Century 21 relaunches
From left: Ben Ashkenazy, 1991 Broadway, 2067 Broadway and Samuel Gindi (Getty; Google Maps)
New York
Billionaire developer Ben Ashkenazy in feud with investor over reputation, cash
Recommended For You