Denihan sued for allegedly backing out of Surrey Hotel deal

A group led by investors Ben Ashkenazy and Michael Alpert is facing off with Denihan Hospitality Group in Manhattan Supreme Court after the investment firm claimed that Denihan backed out of a deal to sell a 49-percent stake in the ground lease at the Surrey Hotel in New York, reports The Real Deal.

Ashkenazy and Alpert, the chairman and president of Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., claim in a July 22 lawsuit that Denihan obtained new financing for the hotel without their consent—and then backed out of the transaction altogether.

Alpert, in a sworn affidavit, claims that he and Ashkenazy contacted Denihan on July 2 to inquire about the delay in closing the deal.

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“It was during that conversation, plaintiff learned that defendants were no longer desirous of consummating the deal as they no longer saw it as beneficial to them,” Alpert said in the court filing. “Defendants no longer needed plaintiff for the financing aspect of the transaction and the real estate market had been improving steadily since the parties first entered into the agreement back in July 2013.”

The plaintiffs will ask the court to block any transfer of the ground lease in an August 15 hearing.

Officials from Denihan said the deal was not consummated due to the inability to get consent from the ground lessor.