Acropolis Gardens, a Queens co-op mired in allegations of corruption and self-dealing, is tearing itself apart Longtime property manager Steve Osman, whose company also manages 30 consulate embassies, is accused of misappropriating millions from the co-op
The Acropolis Gardens at 2168 35th Street in Queens and Steve Osman (Credit: Google Maps and iStock)
Refinancing old debt on a property is a routine measure. But shareholders of an Astoria complex fear another loan would be a means of covering up years of corruption at the long-troubled property.
Michael Leifer, who owns 70 of the 618 units at Acropolis Gardens, brought a derivative shareholder suit against the co-op board and longtime property manager Steve Osman, alleging that Osman had used the complex as his own personal piggy bank, misappropriating millions of dollars over the years. Further, Leifer claims that board members were complicit in those actions.
Now, shareholders are gearing up for the co-op’s first annual meeting in eight years. In that time, the debt on the property has more than quadrupled, public records show. And maintenance fees have risen more than 40 percent, the suit claims, amid years of resident complaints of poor conditions, including asbestos exposure and a months-long period without hot water.
“W上海千花网交友 e are paying more money a month, getting less in return and getting deeper in debt,” said Michael Solomon, another shareholder who has lived in the complex for 10 years and says he’s had ceiling leaks since 2015.
The annual shareholders meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19, comes after a Wells Fargo managed-trust moved to foreclose on the property after a loan repayment bounced in July. A Wells Fargo-recommended receiver was appointed last month to audit the co-op’s financials, and take over its property management.
But in a move that would replace the court-appointed receiver, the current board members are seeking to refinance yet again, with a $52 million loan provided by a private lender at a 9 percent interest rate, more than double the current rate, according to court filings.
“They want to get the receiver out, because [the board] don’t want a forensic accountant to come in and uncover all the fraud,” said Stephen Meister, Leifer’s attorney.
Wells Fargo said it does not have a decision making role in the foreclosure because it serves as a trustee. The institution instead directed questions to its special servicer, Rialto Capital Advisors, which also declined to comment.
Leifer — who does not currently hold a seat on the co-op board — filed a motion in federal court this month seeking to block the board from securing the new loan. As the shareholders’ meeting approaches, more than 70 members have signed letters in support of holding board election.
Payments called into question
The allegations against Osman, whose firm Metropolitan Pacific Properties has managed the complex since 1995, range from funneling payments to his family members to misdirecting funds from the board to o[……]