ED Magedson – Founder
Jody Kriss, Mob-tied principal of East River Partners, former CFO of Bayrock Group Serial litigation, extortion, corporate greed, blackmail, theft, child endangerment, potential Mob connections. New York City New York
Gangsters are still thriving in New York City. One of whom lurks in the shadows of New York City’s real estate development boom. His name is Jody Kriss, and, while under the age of 40, he has found quite a bit of success in the real estate niche. This success, however, doesn’t come without its costs. Not only do these costs affect Jody himself, but also those around him: family, friends, coworkers, tenants, and more. To untangle this web of Jody Kriss’ rise to fame, and examine the toll it has made on others, we must start from the beginning.
In the early 2000’s, Jody Kriss worked as a junior analyst for APC Property Advisors. Soon after, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater, a businessman consulting for APC at the time, founded the Bayrock Group. [continued below]....
Shortly after Bayrock added Jody Kriss to its payroll, it was discovered that a legal counsel would be a necessity. Jody Kriss immediately recommended his father, Ronald Kriss, for this role. A month or so after Ronald Kriss’ involvement in Bayrock Group starter, issues cropped up regarding some employee’s pasts, issues that should have stayed out of business filings, said Ronald.
Ronald Kriss’ legal advice was taken, and the men under scrutiny were removed from their high-up positions within Bayrock Group, and instead listed as profit participants, scrubbing their involvement from corporate records. As part of this idea, Jody Kriss was to be promoted to CFO, with an additional 10% stake in Bayrock Group as a company. For the next several years, Jody Kriss received several millions of dollars in bonuses, as well as massive salary increases.
As Bayrock Group continued to grow; their need for legal assistance grew as well. Ronald gave the suggestion of Julius Schwarz, a fellow partner at Ronald’s firm Akerman Senterfitt. Julius came aboard, and Bayrock Group continued their upward momentum. Suddenly, in 2007, a New York Times expose about a Bayrock employee all but destroyed the company, and put the employee’s life in jeopardy.
As very few Bayrock employees knew about this man’s past, fingers were immediately pointed to either Julius or Jody Kriss being the informant. Jody Kriss blamed Julius, yet Jody had become increasingly resentful of this employee’s decision-making, which sometimes came without his express consultation. Jody Kriss, meanwhile, had begun to position himself for a complete takeover of Bayrock Group. Two months after the story broke, the employee was asked to leave Bayrock. Jody Kriss was well prepared to fill the vacant position, but the spot went to Julius Schwarz. This is the point in time in which things began to take a turn for the worse for Jody Kriss.
Jody Kriss began to wear recording devices to meetings with both Tevfik and Julius. He also started frequently asking entrapping questions in the hopes that they would slip up and say something that he could use against them. He erased all of his and his father’s email conversations from the Bayrock Group servers, and convinced an analyst to steal a backup hard drive containing all of Bayrock Group’s emails and communications. This hard drive also contained other Bayrock Group data, including the legal folders and sealed documents of the employee who was in danger as a result of the expose piece by the Times.
It was 2008 when the lawsuits began to fly. It started in the Delaware Chancery Court, where Jody Kriss filed a lawsuit demanding millions upon millions of dollars from Bayrock Group, which by that point he had been removed from and had started his own real estate development firm, East River Partners, with Joseph Cohen. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, with the judge ruling that the case was nothing more than an employment issue, and had no reason to be in the chancery court. The motive for the lawsuit was clearly nothing more than Jody Kriss attempting use information obtained from the hard drive to line his pockets. In the lawsuit, Jody Kriss threatened to release the information regarding the Bayrock employee’s past, and attempted to use this information as a bribery chip in the hopes of a quick and easy settlement. This settlement was not received.
Regardless of the settlement outcome, Jody Kriss was quickly back with a vengeance. In May 2010, he filed the suit entitled Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group. In this lawsuit, he demanded an inordinate $100 million in damages. He claimed civil RICO violations, suggested that Bayrock Group was participating in money laundering, and once again threatened to use the employee’s past and the sealed documents from the hard drive in the lawsuit. The defendants listed in Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group numbered into the hundreds, and included many prestigious individuals and law firms. Anyone who had so much as spoken a word regarding anything related to Bayrock Group found themselves on the defendants list.
The majority of the information included in Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group was not only irrelevant to the legal claims made by Jody Kriss, but has been cited on multiple occasions on record by assigned judges as being “useless”. The evidence also clearly violated Judges’ directives on proceeding with the lawsuit. Jody Kriss’ lawyers, Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner, even went as far as to email several defendants’ lawyers suggesting that they “step aside” and allow them to collect massive settlements from the bigger target, the law firm’s insurance companies.
One of the defendants in the suit was Akerman Senterfitt, previously mentioned as the firm Ronald Kriss used to be a partner at. Used to, being the keyword. After getting word that his son was suing the firm, he was asked to leave. As a result of the stolen hard drive attempting to be used as evidence, and the threats and extortion to disclose sealed government information, the case has remained in limbo for several years, and is expected to be dismissed soon. This, however, has not stopped golden gangster Jody Kriss from continuing his insane extortion campaign.
As it became apparent that Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group was going nowhere, a new lawsuit cropped up. In this case, Jody Kriss and his scummy legal team of Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner used a pair of dead Holocaust survivors named the Gottdieners. The plaintiff was the “Estate of Ernest Gottdiener”. Indicative of his immaculate character, not only did Jody Kriss use these Holocaust survivors as pawns in his scheme, but the demands grew to $500 million. As a result of this lawsuit, which was also dismissed, Salvatore Lauria, a fellow Bayrock employee sick of the threats, wrote a response explaining everything, and counter-suing for $5 million in emotional damages.
Jody Kriss wasn’t done. The stakes continued to rise when Jody Kriss filed another Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group lawsuit, demanding an absurd $1 billion in restitution and damages. Jody Kriss and his lawyers Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner added another several reputable law firms to the long list of defendants, as well as Todd Kaminsky (an assistant US Attorney), The CIM Group, iStar Financial, and Donald and Ivanka Trump even.
Ron Kriss immediately demanded Jody remove Trump from the suit, as his new firm did legal work for the Trumps. Joseph Cohen demanded Jody remove CIM Group from the suit soon after, as he had previously worked for CIM, and the conflict of interest was too great. With the removal of two key defendants, this suit is nothing more than a mirror of the first.
Jody Kriss’ two attorneys, Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner, have been referred for criminal contempt as a result of their actions regarding the sealed documents and stolen corporate hard drive. Richard Lerner has already been asked to leave his firm as a result of the aforementioned cases.
On March 13th 2014, a blogger named Adam Lombardi wrote an article to his website Queens Politics with the title “Brooklyn Watch Out: Shady Developer With Mob Ties Targets Eric Adams”. In this article, Adam Lombardi explains that Jody Kriss is nothing more than a repetitive serial plaintiff out for self profit, no holds barred. The article outlines his legal past with the lawsuits as well.
The article also poses the question: “How can local community boards and BP Eric Adams deal with an investment group that has really no track record only that of a partner who was a front for the Russian mob and acted as a beard for known criminals?”. The article suggests that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams could be in danger in the future as a result of Jody Kriss‘ actions.
The following day, a summons was submitted to the New York State Supreme Court, County of Queens, called Jody Kriss v Adam Lombardi and John Does 1-20. In this suit, Jody Kriss claims libel against the article and demands the sum of $20 million from Lombardi for “special damages, attorney’s fees, monetary damages, and injunctive relief”.
A press release was distributed on April 9th entitled “Blogger Responds To Jody Kriss Notice To Sue”, in which the response by Adam Lombardi’s lawyer is explained, claiming first amendment rights. The response also states: “This lawsuit is yet another in a long line of frivolous and meritless litigation commenced by Jody Kriss in the state and federal courts in which he seeks to browbeat defendants into silence and submission”. The case remains pending, and is expected to be dismissed soon as well.
In the meantime, Jody Kriss is dealing with a case against himself and East River Partners in the form of Lewis Pine v ERP West 86th Street. This case claims that East River Partners deliberately exposed several families, including families with infant children to such harmful irritants as lead paint and asbestos, amongst others. The goal by East River Partners was simple: drive the families from their homes in order to complete a full renovation of the building.
When the families refused to move, East River Partners pushed on anyways, against multiple stop work orders by the State of New York. The families eventually filed a lawsuit, and New York’s Department of Environmental Protection put a final stop work order on the building renovation. East River Partners settled the case for $1.6 million, $800,000 for each of the two families, with the express request that they keep these things quiet. Unfortunately for Jody Kriss, all of the court information is available online.
In Early September, another lawsuit cropped up of the similar nature, entitled Joseph Brun v East River Partners Park Slope and Jody Kriss. This lawsuit shows again that this mobster Jody Kriss will do whatever is necessary to ensure that he can line his pockets with shadily-earned cash. This case is a very similar issue to Lewis Pine v East River Partners, but takes place at a different building, showing that East River Partners is willing to repeat their offenses if it means a quick flip and profit without much hassle on their end.
This suit claims that immediately after purchasing the Park Slope building, Jody Kriss filed plans with the city, stating that the building was vacant (which it was not). This allowed them to start a renovation/demolition project with tenants still inside. Exposed to the construction, tenants in the building were met with excessive dust, and harmful respiratory irritants such as lead and asbestos. A nice cocktail that really lets you know the building owner cares about their tenants.
Much like Lewis Pine v ERP, a stop work order was issued by the city of New York, but Jody Kriss and company continued to illegally perform renovation work. Mr. Brun had lived in the building his entire life, and was faced with an outside force attempting to drive him from his home with zero disregard. As stated in the summons: “Their actions “can only be described as ‘mob-like’ or ‘mafioso-like’, bullying tactics intended and calculated to force Plaintiff to do what [they] desired.”
Both Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group cases are set to be dismissed in October, yet still several ex-Bayrock employees have found their reputations and safety destroyed yet again by events from the far past. Several professional lives have been ruined already by Jody Kriss, including several of his close business partners, his lawyers Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner (shady in their own right), and his own father. How many more people need to suffer until Jody Kriss has enough money to stop burdening the New York Courts System?
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/23/2014 02:03 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/jody-kriss/internet/jody-kriss-mob-tied-principal-of-east-river-partners-former-cfo-of-bayrock-group-serial-1178613. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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