Abraham Leser’s firm fell behind on debt payments at 111 Livingston Street after two tenants, Brooklyn Law School and the Legal Aid Society, went on rent strike and sued Leser over delayed maintenance at the Downtown Brooklyn office building.
Court records indicate that months of back rent accumulated, possibly hindering the Leser Group’s ability to service its debt.
Leser became delinquent on the property’s $120 million loan in May, then missed June’s payment, Morningstar data shows.
As of July, Morningstar marked the loan current but the debt remains watchlisted. Louis Solomon of Reed Smith, which is representing Leser in the lawsuit, confirmed that the loan is performing.
“The normal operations between the bank and the company are fully in place,” Solomon wrote in an email.
The building’s occupancy rate dropped to just 55 percent in December and Leser hasn’t provided required financial updates on the building since early 2022. The loan is due in three years.
Meanwhile, the Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Law School, which together lease over a third of the building’s rentable area, have withheld rent, citing delayed maintenance at the property.
Each has sued to terminate its lease and Leser is opposing those efforts, court records show.
Brooklyn Law, which leases two floors, filed suit in May 2021 citing open safety violations tied to the building’s elevators and a faulty HVAC system resulting in air quality “so poor that the Law School is impaired from using the premises as intended.”
The problems spurred a raging mold infestation in the building, driving Legal Aid, which rents six floors, to serve Leser with a notice to terminate its lease in June 2022, according to a court filing by the nonprofit.
As of February, the Legal Aid Society had racked up $7.2 million in unpaid rent and utility bills,