After three years of prosecution, Maverick Real Estate Partners appear to have failed in their quest to lock down a Chelsea apartment building, whose elderly owner – a Holocaust survivor – got attached and fought back.
On Thursday morning, a five-judge panel in the Appeals Division dismissed Maverick’s appeal against two lower court decisions, ending his foreclosure offer.
Andreas Steiner, the owner of the building at 416 West 25th Street, now plans to repay the loan and retain control of the building.
“We are proud of our client’s unwavering determination to bring this case to fruition and are delighted to have been able to help them achieve this remarkable result,” said Steiner’s attorney, Terrence Oved of Oved & Oved.
Oved said the decision “should serve as an inspiration to all who are engaged in a similar struggle with Maverick or others like them.”
Steiner bought the building in 1999 for an undisclosed sum, according to public records. The foreclosure saga began in June 2017, when New Jersey lender Peapack-Gladstone Bank declared its $ 3.6 million mortgage on the defaulting property.
Steiner had taken out another mortgage on the property the previous month without getting approval from the first lender, as their deal required. However, Peapack did not give Steiner 30 days to remedy the breach, which the agreement also required.
Peapack decided to wash their hands of the loan and did what many other lenders did with troubled debts during the pandemic: on August 2, 2018, he sold the note to Maverick.
In less than a month, Maverick decided to foreclose on Steiner’s five-story apartment building, again citing the second mortgage as the source of the default. But just like Peapack, Maverick failed to provide a 30-day processing period, prompting a judge to dismiss the foreclosure action in May 2019.
Maverick tried again a few weeks later, this time giving Steiner the required 30 days to come into compliance. The same judge ruled against Maverick again, dismissing his second foreclosure attempt.
Steiner demanded an invoice detailing the remaining loan balance so that he could repay it. But upon arriving, Steiner discovered that Maverick had brought various charges, including his own legal fees for the case Steiner had won.
Steiner sued, and in August the judge gave Maverick 20 days to provide a proper reimbursement letter, seemingly ending the case for good.
But Maverick appealed the decision and asked that interest continue to accrue on the loan during the appeal. The court ruling on Thursday dismissed those arguments without the dissenting votes Maverick needed to secure an automatic right of appeal. Maverick could ask the Court of Appeal to hear the case, but the High Court hardly ever grants such requests.
Maverick, who did not immediately respond to the request for comment, remains active. Yesterday, the firm announced that it had raised nearly $ 318 million for a new mortgage fund. In March, he closed a “lien fund” with more than $ 230 million in commitments from pension funds, endowments, foundations and family offices. The fund’s strategy, according to Maverick, “is to invest in mortgage opportunities in New York.”