The eight year battle over a racketeering lawsuit has finally come to a close. Kriss v. Bayrock was filed against real estate developer Bayrock Group back in 2010 by ex-employee Judy Kriss. The case, which has festered into a bitter legal clash, finally reached fruition when Kriss settled with the company. As a former director of finance, Kriss accused the company of defrauding him and concealing a principal executive’s criminal history. Kriss and Bayrock deliberated over the details of the settlement for months, the outcome of which has not be disclosed.
According to Kriss, during his tenure at Bayrock he grew suspicious of their actions. Overtime Kriss became certain that Bayrock laundering money, ducking taxes, and skimming cash from investment deals. He claimed that the group cheated him out of millions, and lied to him about the criminal record of managing director Felix Sater. In response to his claims Bayrock labeled Kriss as a disgruntled employee, and went on record stating that Sater’s record was completely disclosed. They have defended their honor since, and the two sides have remained in conflict since.
Sater, who joined Bayrock in 2003, had plead guilty to stock racketeering in a 1998 pump and dump scandal arranged by the Russian mob. Kriss claimed that Sater’s role in Bayrock was never fully disclosed, and went even further to claim that the group was operated by organized crime. Many of this claims were castoff preceding trial, and the judge in charge of the case dismissed others. The case was allowed to proceed into court under federal racketeering laws.
The Bayrock Group is headquartered in New York. It is an international investment firm and real estate developer. Founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh businessman, Bayrock secures real estate purchased for massive construction projects. The firm also helps out in the construction process at times. Bayrock was instrumental in acquiring the land used for the massive Trump SoHo hotel, which currently operates under the name the Dominick. Throughout its tenure Bayrock has been the subject of four major lawsuits, all of them dealing with allegations of fraud. Kriss v. Bayrock is the second.
Bayrock is connected to President Trump, as the mogul had a number of business deals with the company before his election. Between 2002 and 2011 Trump and his two eldest children worked with Bayrock on a sequence of real estate investments for future Trump buildings. The primary and most notorious being the Trump SoHo hotel and condominium. Trump Soho is also the subject of Bayrock’s third major lawsuit filed by Rockwell Group. In his testimony, Kriss claimed the Trump organization to be victims as well, defrauded by Bayrock when they refused to disclose Felix Sater’s racketeering charges.
The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, and neither Kriss’s attorney nor the legal defense for Bayrock have made comments. The settlement was the decision of Kriss who spent months negotiating on whatever offer was made to him. Kriss’s case also led to the fourth lawsuit levied against Bayrock. This one filed by Kriss’s attorney Fred Oberlander. The lawsuit was filed as a qui tam case as detail that came out in the Kriss trial, were divulged by Oberlander as evidence of wide-reaching fraud. The case was ultimately dismissed by the court.
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