Lawsuits against Brooklyn-based developers Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein continue to mount.
The Moskovits and Lichtenstein are facing new lawsuits from their former lender, Benefit Street Partners, just a month after their key asset, the Williamsburg Hotel, was sold to Quadrum Global for $96 million in a bankruptcy auction .
Benefit Street claimed that even after the sale, the Moskovits and Lichtenstein still owed the hotel a loan. The remaining debt, including default interest, is $29 million, the lenders said.
Benefit Street further accused Moskovits and Lichtenstein of breaching a loan agreement guaranteed by the borrower, causing the project to go bankrupt in White Plains in 2021. Filing for bankruptcy is a “bad boy” action that makes loans with full recourse, according to lenders.
“Since then, the New York real estate and legal communities have come to recognize the Moskovits and Lichtensteins as fraudsters,” Benefit Street’s attorneys said in the lawsuit.
Moskovits and Lichtenstein did not respond to requests for comment, nor did they respond in court. Benefit Street declined to comment.
The lawsuit details the history of Moskowitz and Lichtenstein’s legal disputes, counting 30 lawsuits the developer has been involved in in New York state court over the past few years.
“A sample of some of the headlines in the leading real estate journals real deal summed up the financial damage that Moskowitz and Lichtenstein inflicted on unsuspecting victims,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit points to the following TRD headlines: Lawsuit: Toby Moskovits and Michael Lichtenstein Owe Investors $3M; Judge: Williamsburg Hotels Can’t Trust Moskovits and Lichtenstein; Moskovits and Lichtenstein Lose Williamsburg in Bankruptcy another property.
For years, the Moskovits and Lichtenstein have blamed their lenders, including Benefit Street and Fortress Investment Group, for the problems. They previously claimed that Benefit Street was trying to steal their property.
“I’m guessing Fortress and Benefit Street are in a competition over who’s the biggest asshole lender in New York City, so I think Benefit Street might even get in — might win that race, but we’ll see,” Lichtenstein said in a statement. said in a testimony.
The bankruptcy court appointed an examiner to determine the whereabouts of the debtor’s funds.
After analyzing 50 bank accounts, conducting 11 interviews and reviewing more than 10,000 pages of documents, the examiners concluded: “The investigation uncovered evidence of a complex scheme to transfer and withdraw large amounts of money.”
Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain eventually appointed a trustee to oversee the hotel and said Moskowitz and Lichtenstein could no longer be trusted to “deal like a trustee.”
“The records … show a series of serious, I believe willful non-disclosure and misappropriation of assets,” Dryan, who is now retired, told the hearing. “In my view, some of these actions also rose to the level of fraud.”