Trump-Linked Real Estate Firm Settles Suit by Ex-Employee10:39 08.02.2018
A real estate development firm linked to President Donald Trump reached an agreement to resolve a racketeering lawsuit filed by a former executive who claimed the company defrauded him of money he was owed and concealed the criminal history of one of its principals.
The Bayrock Group, the developer of the Trump Soho building in Manhattan, agreed in principle to settle a lawsuit filed in 2010 by former finance director Jody Kriss, according to a filing Thursday in federal court in New York. Kriss said in his original lawsuit and in interviews that he left the firm after becoming convinced that it was laundering money. He also accused the company of skimming cash, dodging taxes and cheating him out of millions of dollars.
But Kriss later discarded some of those claims in amending his lawsuit, and the judge dismissed other allegations. The judge allowed the case to proceed under racketeering laws.
Kriss negotiated for months to settle his case against Bayrock and two of its principals, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in court filings.
An attorney for Kriss declined to comment. Attorneys for Sater and Bayrock didn’t immediately comment.
Bayrock had contested Kriss’s claims and described him as a disgruntled employee. Sater denied allegations that Bayrock failed to tell Kriss about Sater’s 1998 racketeering conviction and about several million dollars in payments that were designed to avoid tax liability.
Bayrock worked with Trump and his two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, on a series of real-estate deals between 2002 and about 2011, the most prominent being the troubled Trump Soho hotel and condominium. In his lawsuit, Kriss also claimed that Arif and Sater defrauded the Trump Organization by not telling it about Sater’s racketeering conviction and the payments to Sater.
The case is Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group LLC, 10-cv-03959, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)
(Updates with Felix Sater background.)