Ziel Feldman scores win in lawsuit brought by Wix’s Avishai Abrahami

Former HFZ exec may get out of $30M loan he alleges Nir Meir forged

Ziel Feldman Scores Win in Lawsuit Brought by Wix’s Avi Abrahami
Ziel Feldman and Avi Abrahami (Getty, Wix)

Ziel Feldman has sought to blame his former real estate firm’s collapse on his second-in-command Nir Meir.

The Manhattan D.A’s office appears to agree. Prosecutors charged Meir earlier this year as the mastermind behind a $86 million criminal fraud scheme that involved moving money from different HFZ projects. 

Until recently, Feldman has not had as much luck in civil court. Notably, a New York appellate court previously ruled Feldman should be liable for guarantees on a loan provided by Israeli businessman Yoav Harlap. Feldman alleged that Meir had forged his signature.

Now, a judge’s recent ruling in a lawsuit brought by the co-founder of Wix, Avishai Abrahami, could change Feldman’s losing streak. 

Abrahami’s attorneys were seeking to hold Feldman responsible for a guarantee on a $30 million loan. Feldman claimed that he was unaware of the loan and that Meir once again forged his signature.

But New York Supreme Court Judge Andrea Masley ruled Feldman can not be held liable on the guarantee until the case goes to trial. Masley further said that “Meir misappropriated most of the proceeds from the Abrahami loan.” 

Masley said a trial is necessary to determine whether Feldman ratified the guarantee. 

The ruling could be consequential for Feldman. Feldman can likely use the judge’s decision to further appeal other lawsuits where judges have ruled that Feldman should be responsible for loans bearing his signature. 

“We are pleased with the court’s well-reasoned decision,” said attorney David Ross of Morrison Cohen, who represented Feldman. 

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Meir secured a $30 million loan from Abrahami in the fall of 2020 as HFZ’s real estate portfolio was coming under tremendous stress. The loan was backed by a national portfolio of industrial properties and had a guarantee from Feldman. 

Unbeknownst to Abrahami, those same properties had already been pledged to another lender, Monroe Capital.

Any new loan would have required the consent of Monroe. It also required consent from HFZ’s joint venture partner, the Reich Bros. But Abrahami alleges Meir never informed Monroe or Reich about the $30 million loan. Abrahami further alleges that over $2 million of his loan went straight to Meir’s personal account.

Abrahami has also sued the law firm Holland & Knight and its then attorney Sean Garahan in 2023, for allegedly drafting the loan documents under Meir’s direction.

In a deposition, Feldman said that when he discovered the Abrahami loan, he confronted Meir.

“He went berserk,” Feldman said. “He said, ‘I’m here to save the company, it was a great loan that I got, and I didn’t need to tell you.’

In December 2020, Monroe foreclosed on HFZ’s equity stake in the larger industrial portfolio through a UCC foreclosure. Around the time of the foreclosure, Feldman finally fired Meir.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges Meir illegally diverted $60 million from HFZ projects to cover shortfalls on other HFZ projects, using bogus documents, fake wire transfers and empty promises to dupe investors and a lender. He is also accused of shorting the city $15.6 million in taxes on HFZ property and orchestrating other schemes that looted $11 million.

Meir has pleaded not guilty. At a hearing in February, Meir told the judge that he has been an upstanding citizen and claimed to be working in New York to provide for his family. The judge set bail at $5 million cash. Meir has not yet paid bail and is awaiting trial in Rikers Island

Abrahami’s attorney did not return a request for comment. 

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