Developer Ben Ashkenazy Suing Investor For Failing To Provide Cash For Imperiled Portfolio
Ben Ashkenazy has lobbed a lawsuit at the Gindi family, claiming it is denying him badly needed funds as a ploy to enrich itself and is unfairly besmirching his reputation.
The Gindi family, which is behind collapsed retailer Century 21, is a passive investor at seven of Ashkenazy’s North American properties, including retail space at 2067 Broadway and commercial units at 1991 Broadway, Crain’s New York Business reports.
Ashkenazy, the CEO of Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., is suing the Gindis in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, claiming they are refusing to provide funds to help bolster the assets through the pandemic. He claims their goal is to force Ashkenazy to buy them out at top dollar.
He says the family is spreading lies about him and has falsely accused him of stealing their money. He alleges in the suit that Raymond, Eddie and Isaac Gindi told their sons-in-law and others, namely Midtown Equities’ Joseph Cayre, that Ashkenazy has taken millions of dollars from them, which the developer denies.
Ashkenazy accused the Gindis of hiding assets during the bankruptcy proceedings of the store. Century 21 Stores filed for bankruptcy and closed all 13 of its stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida in September, saying insurers had “turned their backs” on the retailer in its hour in need.
“While holding themselves out to the public as successful, wealthy businesspeople, it appears that the Gindis have improperly diverted Century 21 assets for the purpose of investing for their personal benefit,” Ashkenazy alleged in court papers, per Crain’s.
Ashkenazy said he asked the Gindis for financial help with the properties that have been hit by the pandemic, requesting $9M to cover a rent shortfall. The family is contractually required to provide him with the money, Ashkenazy argues.