Saudi Prince Says Key Return Should End Trump Firm's Rent Suit

(Bloomberg) -- A Saudi prince says he gave back the keys last year to a Trump Park Avenue LLC-owned penthouse and asked a judge to toss out a lawsuit seeking almost $2 million in unpaid rent.

The unit of President Donald Trump’s company sued Faisal bin Abdul Majeed al-Saud in February, claiming he leased the Manhattan unit in 2013, but stopped paying rent in about January 2017. The Trump Organization says the prince agreed in June 2014 to extend the lease through June 2019, according to the complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court.

The prince’s lawyers say Trump Park Avenue didn’t comply with the lease in failing to notify him he was in in default. The Trump Organization also waived any right to "added rent" after it accepted the keys and took his $200,000 security deposit on Dec. 27, 2017, according to court filings last week.

The prince says his representative notified Trump Park Avenue in 2015 that he no longer had any use for the penthouse at Park Avenue and 59th Street, but the Trump Organization insisted on using a broker selected by the company that sought an "inflated rental amount in order to prop up sagging values in the building."

Lawyers for the prince asked for a court hearing on April 27.

Trump Park Avenue not only wants back rent, but more than $1.9 million in additional rent, claiming the lease modification included increases through 2019. The agreement calls for rent of $115,762.50 per month beginning in July 2017, according to the lawsuit, which is far in excess of the $75,000-per-month the unit was listed for that same month on the website StreetEasy.

The 7,132 square-foot unit is one of 11 with a penthouse designation in the building, New York property records show.

Trump Park Avenue’s claim it’s entitled to $1.9 million in "future rent" is "grossly disproportionate" to any actual damages and is an "unenforceable penalty," according to Bruce Wiener, a lawyer for the prince.

Jeffrey Goldman, a lawyer representing Trump Park Avenue, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case is Trump Park Avenue LLC v. Faisal Bin Abdul Majeed Al Saud, 650799/2018, New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

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