Court roundup: $7M in foreclosures; suits involving Besen, Hochfelder, Schuster, Steinmetz

1733 Lexington Avenue (Credit: Google)

Plaintiffs filed six commercial lawsuits of interest Monday and Tuesday, including a $5.5 million pre-foreclosure, and a $2.08 million pre-foreclosure. In addition, Michael Besen, Adam Hochfelder, Joshua Schuster and Solomon Steinmetz were parties to four separate real estate-related lawsuits.

Court filings are the positions of one party and are not necessarily accurate or complete.

Lender Toorak files to foreclose $5.5M East Harlem loan: Toorak Capital Partners, which bought the loan executed in 2019 by Sharestates with a maximum principal of $5.5 million and assigned to Toorak on January 10, 2022, filed to foreclose on that loan. The loan is secured by two vacant lots in East Harlem, 1731 and 1733 Lexington Avenue, which form a corner at 108th Street and Lexington Avenue. Each lot has about 17 feet of frontage on Lexington Avenue. Afshin Hedvat is the property owner and guarantor, according to the complaint. LINK

Lender Avatar Financial files to foreclose on $2.1M Borough Park loan: Avatar Financial Group filed to foreclose on the $2.08 million loan secured by 1146 50th Street in Borough Park. According to the complaint, “Beled Community Center LLC is named in this action as the borrower under the Note and Note Modification and Extension Agreements and mortgagor under the Mortgage as fully described herein. Said Defendant is also the owner of the mortgaged premises which are the subject of this foreclosure action. Malka Singer and Yisrael Singer are the guarantors under the Guaranty.” LINK

Michael Besen alleges Adam Hochfelder owes $459K: Michael Besen, a real estate investor and owner of the brokerage  company Besen Partners, alleges he lent real estate executive Adam Hochfelder $505,000 in July 2015, and that the bulk of that has not been repaid. Hochfelder has not responded to the complaint and PincusCo cannot independently verify the allegations. LINK

Meshulem Twersky sues Steinmetz brothers for $1.2M: Twersky alleges the Steinmetz brothers have defrauded him and made him solely liable for a $1.2 million loan, and in addition they sought to remove his alleged ownership stake in the property 528 Jackson Avenue in the Bronx.

The Steinmetz brothers have not responded to the complaint and PincusCo cannot independently verify the allegations.

According to the complaint: “This action arises from Defendants’ unethical and illicit efforts to defraud and otherwise take advantage of Mr. Twersky, a young member of the same community who looked up to and trusted Defendants as mentors and, subsequently, business partners. 2. Mr. Twersky was raised in the Jewish and ultra-orthodox Chassidic community where he received a limited secular education. At 23 years old, he became acquainted with, and developed a close relationship with, the Steinmetz family. 3. Defendants Solomon, Usher, and Jacob Steinmetz (brothers and also Chassidic Jews) come from a very wealthy and sophisticated family that has a long history of real estate investments.” As Mr. Twersky gained more professional experience, he entered the real estate industry himself and quickly developed a talent for identifying valuable projects. Over the ensuing years, the Steinmetz Defendants began leveraging Mr. Twersky’s talent, as well as Mr. Twersky’s trust and respect, and the parties partnered on various extremely profitable real estate investments. 6. Unfortunately, even though Mr. Twersky’s efforts led to more and more profits for the parties, Defendants have sought to keep those profits for themselves. Instead of honoring their commitments to Mr. Twersky, they are wrongfully seeking to deprive Mr. Twersky of his rightful share and to otherwise repudiate their obligations. 7. This particular matter arises out of a series of commercial real estate transactions involving properties located at 533-531 Concord Avenue, Bronx, New York (“Concord Property”) and 528 Jackson Avenue, Bronx New York (“Jackson Property”). LINK

Ascent development accuses former VP of fraud, seeks $2.5M: Tien Vominh as owner of Ascent Development claims his former vice president of construction, Michael O’Neil, defrauded him by creating two sets of construction contracts in order to obtain financing at the 20-unit project at 30-38 29th Street in Astoria.
O’Neil has not responded to the complaint and PincusCo cannot independently verify the allegations.

According to the complaint, “To camouflage and deceive the lender into providing financing, defendant, without authority, executed two separate general contractor agreements in the name of plaintiff ASCENT – one with Abacus Building Innovations Inc. (“Abacus”) at a price of Four Million Four Hundred Fifty Thousand and 00/100 Dollars ($4,450,000.00); and a second virtually identical agreement with Abacus at a price of Six Million Four Hundred Fifty Thousand and 00/110 Dollars ($6,450,000.00). Both agreements encompass identical subject matter, to wit, Abacus’s provision of general contractor services at the Project; each, however, contains an intentionally different contract price. The reason the defendant executed two different agreements was to be able to show the lender the less costly agreement, while allowing the contractor (Abacus) to work at the Project and get paid under the more costly agreement. Most critically, the defendant executed two agreements to benefit himself, his friends, and corporate entities other than the one (ASCENT) to which he owed” a fiduciary duty. “The breaches detailed herein damaged the plaintiffs, and in particular ASCENT, in an amount to be determined by the Court but not less than Two Million Five Hundred Thousand ($2,500,000.00) Dollars.” Yimby reported that Ascent filed plans in 2018 for a 20-unit, 13,860-square-foot building at the site. LINK

RW Real Estate alleges Josh Schuster defaulted on $350K loan: RW Real Estate Group  which is led by co-founder Alex Weiss allege Joshua Schuster of Silverback Development has not repaid a $350,000 loan that was given in September 2020 and was originally due March 1, 2021.
Schuster has not responded to the complaint and PincusCo cannot independently verify the allegations.
The loan was allegedly secured in part by interests in Schuster’s entities tied to 580 Gerard Avenue, in the Bronx. LINK

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