A New York Appellate Court has denied the City of Long Beach’s request to appeal a developer’s claim for $50 million after the city blocked a proposed beachfront apartment and condo building.
The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division in Brooklyn denied two appeals last week from the city asking to reargue the case or to appeal the case to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals.
The city was found in default in 2015 by a State Supreme Court judge in Nassau who ruled Long Beach officials failed to properly respond to a lawsuit by Manhattan developer Sinclair Haberman and a proposal to build three 20-story oceanfront buildings on Shore Road.
Haberman’s Manhattan-based attorney Scott Mollen said the developers would request to proceed to a damage assessment trial against the city, seeking more than $50 million in damages and attorney fees.
“The court has again ruled against the city of Long Beach and in favor of the Habermans in connection with their long running dispute over the right to develop the property in Long Beach,” Mollen said in an interview. “These decisions mean the Habermans can now proceed to have their trial to determine the amount of damages they are entitled to.”
Long Beach has hired Yonkers-based attorney Robert Spolzino to challenge the Appellate Court’s ruling. He said the city is weighing whether to proceed to trial on the damages or request another appeal to the state’s highest court. He said the court ruled the city cannot contest its liability in the case.
“The court is operating on the assumption the city is liable, even though the city has not been found to have done anything wrong,” Spolzino said.
The ruling is the latest in a 1982 property dispute in which the Habermans completed one building — Sea Pointe Towers at the corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Shore Road, along the boardwalk in the city’s West End. The city granted variances for four buildings, but the Board of Zoning Appeals revoked the other three permits in 2003 after the first building was constructed.
Former Long Beach Corporation Counsel Corey Klein signed a settlement in 2014, which would have dismissed the lawsuit and allowed developers to continue building the remaining 20-floor condo and apartment towers.
The settlement was rescinded six months later after city council members said Klein, who is now a city judge, signed the agreement without their approval.