Barry MacNaughton Barry MacNaughton

Law firm Ervin Cohen & Jessup has secured a $93 million judgment against developer Amin S. Lakha of Lakha Properties for fraud in the sale of a shopping center deal dating back to 2008. The developer sold a power center in Chino Hills to CRCH LLC for $79 million at the end of 2008—in the midst of the financial crisis—and, according to the legal team, knowingly withheld vital information about the property and tenancy to push the sale forward and avoid default. The total $93 million payout includes interest and damages on the original sale price, and overturns the sale. The financial crisis was clearly a turbulent time for real estate owners, especially of retail properties, and it is likely the financial crisis played a roll in the developer’s motivation to withhold information. We sat down with Barry MacNaughton, the lead trial lawyer and co-managing partner at ECJ, to talk about the case and how the economic climate at the time of the sale played a roll. Do you think that the financial crisis was the impetus for the owner to commit fraud in this case?

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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