A battle has broken out over the lease of a prominent flagship store off Fifth Avenue in New York City. The landlords of the mixed-use building 15 West 55th Street, Salim “Solly” Assa and his partners, are trying to evict Domenico Vacca from the property’s commercial space, alleging that the Italian luxury retailer is in default of its $4 million-a-year rent
But now, Vacca, who serves as the creative director of his eponymous line that is known for its mens suits worn by celebrities like Denzel Washington, is punching back. He filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit in New York Supreme Court last week against Assa, his partners and associates. The case slings a slew of allegations, most prominently that such a high rent was only needed for Assa and his partners to lock down a $91 million mortgage on the building.
Luise Barrack, the attorney who is representing the landlord group, called the complaint, which she said has yet to be served, “fictitious and scurrilous” and that she plans to move to dismiss it.
The partnership started in 2014, when the two entered a joint venture to build what would be the brand’s location at Assa’s property, according to the lawsuit. The tenant company would be comprised of two entities, each with 50 percent ownership: one for Vacca’s group and the other controlled for Assa and his partners, according to the complaint.
Barrack, the landlord’s attorney, in an interview said the lease calls for $4 million a year. “The rent was guaranteed by Domenico Vacca, who is an attorney, by the way,” she said.
Barrack said her client wants to evict Vacca because the store has not paid its full stated rent. “The written documents that exist don’t support [the allegations],” she said.
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