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CHICAGO-Under pressure to sell off assets for nearly two years, one attempt by Prime Group Realty Trust to do that has ended up in court. The REIT was in talks earlier this year to sell a 758,000-sf office building at 180 N. LaSalle St. but pulled the plug on negotiations in July, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The would-be buyers have sued in Cook County Circuit Court, seeking $52.3 million in damages, including $15.7 million in lost profits and $34.9 million in punitive damages. “We vigorously dispute the allegations contained in the complaint, deny making the promises alleged by the plaintiff and believe we have valid defenses in this case,” the REIT tells the SEC, noting there was no written contract to sell the property.

The effort to sell 180 N. LaSalle began in late 2001, when the REIT was under the direction of chairman Michael W. Reschke and president Richard S. Curto, who resigned in April. Some earlier bidders for the property went to the sidelines after Sept. 11, company officials noted at the time.

Most recently, Prime Group Realty Trust’s largest single investor, K Capital Partners, LLC, has asked management to move faster on asset sales or a sale of the entire company. See:Prime Group’s No. 1 Stockholder Losing Patience.

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