Former Knotel CEO Accuses Newmark Of Mishandling The Coworking Firm's Revival
Former Knotel CEO and co-founder Amol Sarva has reportedly lashed out at the company's new owner, Newmark, and the executives it has tapped to lead the coworking specialist out of bankruptcy, including former WeWork Vice Chairman Michael Gross.
"Over the last few months, Newmark was a stalking horse on a process that used bankruptcy to take control of Knotel with around $100mm of new capital," Amol reportedly said in an email. "This process undermined lots of important relationships and hurt lots of customers and partners."
The Real Deal and Axios have reported on Amol's criticism of how Newmark is handling the revival of Knotel, which was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with landlords who claimed they were owed money by Knotel filing lawsuits against the company late last year.
"They have literally hired a group of Adam Neuman[n]-era WeWork bros to lead the company forward," Sarva also reportedly said. TRD and Axios did not report on how they obtained Amol's email, and neither Sarva nor Newmark responded to Bisnow's requests for comments on the matter.
Sarva's reported statements are a 180-degree turn from what he said about Newmark at the time of Knotel's sale.
"Newmark's commitment offers a path forward amidst this challenging climate," Sarva said in a press release at the time.
As part of the acquisition out of bankruptcy, Newmark agreed to provide Knotel with about $20M in cash as debtor-in-possession financing to see the company through bankruptcy.
Besides his position at WeWork, Gross previously served as CEO of Morgans Hotel Group. Newmark also hired Eric Gross and Yoav Gery as co-presidents of Knotel. Eric Gross, who also did a stint at WeWork, worked for Citadel Investment Group, Highbridge Capital Management and George Weiss Associates. Gery was president of Selina, a hospitality company, and has held senior positions at Morgans Hotel Group and Marriott International.