Courts roundup: Vanbarton settlement at HFZ site; $16M W’burg foreclosure, more

3 West 29th Street (Credit - Google)

Church at HFZ site submits settlement with Vanbarton: The Marble Collegiate Church at 29th and Fifth Avenue filed a petition seeking the Attorney General’s approval to sell a parcel and air rights to the Vanbarton Group, which acquired control of the project from Ziel Feldman’s HFZ Capital Group. According to the petition the parcel and air rights is worth $79.5 million. “WHEREAS, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, following the Settlement Effective Date (as defined below), VBGO shall make a payment to the Church (or its designated affiliate) in an amount equal to $1,500,000 (the “Settlement Payment”) and (ii) deposit into escrow (the “Escrow”) an amount equal to $6,544,000 (the “Escrow Payment”). The Escrow Payment shall be comprised of the sum of the ADA Ramp Work Allocated Amount, the Boiler Work Allocated Amount and the West Wall Work Allocated Amount (as each such term is hereinafter defined); In the following valuation analysis, we estimate that the subject property has a value of $79,500,000, as a standalone development of 198,795 square feet. As a standalone development, it is uncertain whether all of the as-of right development rights associated with Lot 30 and the excess development rights generated by Lot 33 can be efficiently massed on Lot 30 due to certain zoning constraints such as rear yard setbacks, narrow street setbacks above the base plane, and limitations of the sky exposure plane. If developed under Tower Regulations, we estimate that all of the subject’s ZFA can be utilized, even if it results in somewhat undesirable and small floor plates.” LINK

Pacific Western sues Caspi over $16.2M Williamsburg loan: Pacific Western Bank filed a foreclosure suit against Caspi Development and Joshua Caspi, related to a $16.2 million loan secured by 134-136 Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. According to the complaint, The bank is seeking a “deficiency judgment against Borrower and the guarantors of the loans made by PacWest to Borrower – Joshua Caspi and Western Heritable Investment Company (US) Limited (together, “Guarantors” and each individually, a “Guarantor”). Borrower’s outstanding obligations to Plaintiff exceed $15.3 million and are due and owing following the June 10, 2022 maturity of the Loans.” LINK

Extell, Bluestone allege Robert Gans improperly transferred LI assets worth $5M: Extell Development and the Bluestone Group allege Robert Gans has improperly transferred ownership of $5 million worth of real estate in Long Island to his daughter in an effort to shield assets from creditors such as Extell and Bluestone. According to the complaint, “This action arises out of Robert Gans’ brazen attempt to hide assets from his creditors, including Lenders, by transferring over $5,000,000 worth of real property to his daughter, Caren Gans, for a total of $20 in consideration. As the daughter of defendant Robert Gans, Caren Gans is a textbook “insider” within the meaning of Debtor and Creditor Law (“DCL”) § 270(h)(1)(i). Caren Gans is named as a defendant in this action as the transferee of wrongfully conveyed property.. Aware that the walls were closing in, Robert Gans fraudulently transferred valuable unencumbered assets to his daughter in an effort to shield them from his creditors’ reach. 4. These transfers not only violate the Uniform Fraudulent Transactions Act, but they also contravene the guaranties that Robert Gans provided as material inducement in connection with loans that his affiliates obtained from Lenders. 5. Robert Gans should be held accountable for his fraudulent acts, and the transfers that he made to his daughter, to the detriment of Lenders, should be voided… On April 7, 2020, Original Mortgage Lender sent Mortgage Borrower a notice that an Event of Default had occurred because Mortgage Borrower had not made the Interest Reserve Replenishment payment for January 2020… The Guaranties set Robert Gans’ Net Worth threshold at One Hundred Fifty Million Dollars ($150,000,000.00), to be calculated based on his total assets as of such date… Gans allegedly transferred 52 Ivy Avenue and 0 Juniper Avenue in Brookhaven to his daugher Caren Gans, when she should have known he was insolvent, for $20. The plaintiff allege this was an “insider” transaction and as such, is prohibited. LINK

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