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NEW YORK CITY-NorthStar Capital Investment Corp. is claiming in a lawsuit filed with New York State Supreme Court that Vornado Realty Trust has improperly acquired $75 million of NorthStar debt from Credit Suisse First Boston, which could give Vornado significant ability to steer NorthStar’s business operations. NorthStar claims the debt was acquired after Vornado unethically obtained confidential information over the last three years. Vornado reportedly plans to dedicate significant efforts to opposing the suit.

Neither side would comment on the suit.

NorthStar is based at 527 Madison Ave. David Hamamoto, formerly the co-head of the Whitehall funds at Goldman Sachs & Co. and a partner there, and Edward Scheetz, formerly a partner at Apollo Real Estate Advisors, founded the company together. In 1997 they raised $300 million from qualified institutional buyers, including Walt Disney Corp. and Northwestern Mutual Life. NorthStar filed its S-11 in 1998 to allow it to trade shares.

NorthStar went on to buy a controlling interest in Ian Schrager Hotels, a company formed by the co-creator of Studio 54. Schrager’s hotels are among the trendiest, frequented by celebrities from the entertainment and modeling industries. NorthStar also committed $35 million to help capitalize a company funding mortgages on approximately 30 of US Franchise Systems’ holdings. It also invested in a joint venture that owns 350 Washington St. in Boston. In 1998, NorthStar teamed with Andrew Davidoff and Emmes’ senior management to purchase a controlling interest in Emmes & Co. LLC for $55 million.

Vornado is one of five finalists in the bidding for Rockefeller Center. That property is expected to sell for more than $2 billion. Based in Saddle Brook, NJ, Vornado is reportedly the largest owner of office properties in New York. It has also reportedly outperformed the REIT market. Michael Fascitelli, who formerly sat on the Rockefeller Center board on behalf of Goldman Sachs, is Vornado’s president.

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