Kasowitz’s litigators represent some of the largest real estate developers, REITs and other real estate companies in all types of real estate disputes, including breach of contract claims, disputes concerning financing and partnership interests, work-outs and other restructurings, and eminent domain issues.
Notable representative real estate litigation matters handled by the firm’s attorneys include:
- RPAP, a joint venture between Atlas Capital Group LLC, The Procaccianti Group and Rockpoint Group LLC, in several actions in New York state court to foreclose on more than $300 million of loans secured by the Alex Hotel and the Flatotel, both located in New York City, and to recover on the personal guaranties with respect to the loans. The firm successfully obtained orders appointing a receiver for both hotels and replacing the hotel operator, and won summary judgment in all four actions, as well as dismissal of all of the defendants’ counterclaims and affirmative defenses.
- Partners in several partnerships that own prominent New York City office buildings, including the Seagram Building, in connection with several disputes, including three lawsuits concerning the two managing partners’ failure to properly distribute sale and other proceeds relating to the properties, and a lawsuit seeking partnership dissolution and sale of the Seagram Building. The firm obtained a favorable settlement of two of the actions brought on behalf of the client and dismissal of the action in which the client was named as defendant. The remaining two lawsuits are pending in the Commercial Division of New York State Supreme Court.
- F-S Venture LLC, an investor in a large commercial office building in Chicago, in an action against the managing member for failure to comply with the forced-sale provision in the LLC agreement.
- Harbor Group International in a broker’s fee dispute relating to its December 2010 purchase of 1412 Broadway in Manhattan. The firm successfully obtained dismissal with prejudice of all claims against Harbor and its co-defendants at the pleading stage, before commencement of discovery.
- Two real estate investment funds managed by Coventry Real Estate Advisors, a major real estate investment firm, in defense of a guaranty enforcement action brought by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., its mortgage lender, on a major mixed-use development project in Bloomfield Park, Michigan.
- Cabi Downtown, LLC, the developer of one of the most high-profile condominium developments in downtown Miami, the 800 residential condominium development, Everglades on the Bay, in its disputes with its lenders concerning financing the development and in the resulting bankruptcy.
- Edge Group WAICCS LLC, in a breach of contract action against The Sapir Group LLC, a New York real estate investment company, for Sapir’s failure to purchase Edge Group’s interest in a real estate holding company for $20,000,000. After the court granted in substantial part Edge Group’s motion for summary judgment and after extensive discovery into the Sapir’s finances, the action was successfully settled on confidential terms.
- The Related Group, a major condominium developer in south Florida, as borrower and guarantor on seven condominium project construction loans and eleven land loans, including the loans for the ICON Brickell towers and Viceroy hotel. Kasowitz worked with The Related Group through a global restructuring process for all of the loans, successfully reaching an amicable resolution with all of The Related Group’s lenders, thereby avoiding bankruptcy and adversarial foreclosure proceedings.
- Savoy Hotel Partners, LLC (“SHP”), the owner of the Savoy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, against a foreclosure action based on a $39.5 million loan to SHP. Kasowitz, on behalf of SHP, counterclaimed for fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract and violations of Florida’s racketeering statute against the bank. The Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida denied BankFirst’s motion to dismiss the counterclaims. Kasowitz represented SHP in pre-trial mediation, settling the matter and permitting SHP to purchase the original loan for a fraction of par value.
- Fontainebleau Las Vegas Holdings, LLC in litigation against numerous lenders relating to the development of the multi-billion dollar destination casino-resort at the north end of the Las Vegas strip.
- Steel Equities, a tri-state area real estate developer, in a successful challenge to the New York Power Authority’s exercise of eminent domain to take property and transfer it to Calpine Corporation, a national power company, for its $100 million expansion of an existing power plant. The firm obtained one of only a handful of judgments ever to reverse a taking of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment on the grounds that it “was not for a public purpose but principally conferred a private benefit” on a favored citizen.
- The Jack Parker Corporation, Jack Parker Construction Corp., and Gotham Construction Company LLC in defense of an action by a subcontractor for a large development in New York City.
- The former developer of Meadowlands Xanadu, a retail and entertainment complex with more than one million square feet of retail space, an indoor ski slope, and other amenities, in its disputes with the lender group over a more than $1 billion financing commitment, including a successful appeal to the Appellate Division, First Department that reinstated the developer’s claims for breach of a construction loan agreement and related guaranty.
- FIG LLC, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, in an action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York brought by Leslie Dick Worldwide Ltd. and Leslie Dick, which sought more than $1 billion in damages for alleged RICO and antitrust conspiracies, concerning the 2003 sale of the General Motors Building in New York City and the Conseco bankruptcy. The firm successfully obtained the dismissal of the claims against Fortress.
- SL Green, a leading REIT, in defense of shareholders’ claims stemming from SL Green’s multi-billion dollar acquisition of Reckson Associates and spin-off of certain properties. The firm successfully defended SL Green against a putative class of investors in actions filed in New York and Maryland, and the transaction closed.
- Allied Partners, Inc., and its principal, as the trustee/beneficiary of a trust holding hundreds of millions of dollars worth of interests in property in and around New York City in a New York County Surrogate Court proceeding brought by a terminated independent trustee. The firm successfully defeated all claims of a terminated trustee seeking reinstatement and removal of our client, and all efforts to limit our client’s rights and powers.
- Five Mile Capital, LLC, a mezzanine lender in a multi-tiered securitization used to finance the purchase of the former New York Times headquarters, in a suit seeking to enjoin mortgage lenders from colluding with the borrower to extinguish the rights of junior debtholders, such as FMC, by manufacturing a non-material, technical default to simplify the building's capital structure. The firm helped FMC to successfully obtain a settlement whereby FMC assumed a 50% ownership stake in the former New York Times building.
- One of the partners that owned the office building located at One East 57th Street in New York City in litigation with the other partners over the propriety of their sale of the building.
- The equity holder in Extended Stay Hotels ($7.4 billion in mortgage and mezzanine debt) in the restructuring and in defending claims on a bad boy guaranty.
- A client who has a large financial interest in a project in Las Vegas which is facing potential foreclosure. The suit is for specific performance to close a purchase of the client’s interest in the property.
- Martindale Corporation, a New York real estate developer, in a breach of contract action arising out of the aborted purchase and sale of a mid-western hotel chain for $45 million. After defeating defendants' summary judgment motion, the firm resolved the action on favorable terms.
- #1 Funding Center, Inc., in a contested purchase of a commercial property involving a lis pendens filed by a rival bidder to block the sale.
- Multiple mezzanine lenders in foreclosing mezzanine loans on a portfolio of Macklowe office towers in New York.
- A controlling commercial mortgage-backed security certificate holder in pursuing remedies under a CMBS mortgage against debtor Innkeepers with 79 extended stay hotels.