Real Estate News

Real Estate Exec Jody Kriss At Center Of $250 Million Scam Involving President Donald Trump and Family, Lawsuit Claims

Adapted from Arizona News Online’s article “NY Real Estate Executive Jody Kriss at Center of $250M Tax Scam naming Donald Trump and Kids, New Lawsuit Claims”

A lawsuit filed in New York County Supreme Court points to East River Partners real estate executive Jody Kriss. The suit states that he is in the middle of a $250 million tax fraud case brought down by his two former lawyers. This case named President Donald Trump and his children as defendants, amongst many other high-profile businesses, firms, and companies.

Jody Kriss’ disgraced former lawyers Richard Lerner and Frederick Oberlander implicated Kriss, the former CFO of the Bayrock Group. This puts Jody Kriss in the center of a $250 million tax fraud claim in a whistleblower suit recently filed.

Lerner and Oberlander’s qui tam suit named President Trump, his children, the Bayrock Group, and others in connection with several Trump developments. Jody Kriss had terminated the lawyers months before the filing was submitted. Oberlander and Lerner are both under criminal investigation by the Justice Department as a result of their procedural misconduct.

The suit describes the previous qui tam case as a continuation of an almost decade-long, multi-billion-dollar shakedown of defendants by Kriss, Lerner, and Oberlander.

As claimed in the suit:

…“If any tax fraud occurred, it could only have been committed by Kriss, as Bayrock’s Head of Finance, and has nothing to do with the Trumps nor any of the named defendants in the qui tam Complaint”…

It was also noted that Oberlander:

…“is someone whom a Federal Judge in a related case mockingly described as ‘some sort of self-appointed inspector general.’”…

The suit also claims that from 2008 to 2015, the three brought forth a billion-dollar blackmail campaign against The Bayrock Group and others. Kriss, Oberlander, and Lerner brought over five almost identical suits against hundreds of business professionals associated with Bayrock.

In addition to Bayrock, President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and real estate executive and former Donald Trump senior advisor Felix Sater, other notable defendants in the billion-dollar lawsuit include:

  • The United States Government
  • New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky
  • Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Satterlee Stephens Burke and Burke LLP
  • Duval and Stachenfeld LLP
  • Akermann Senterfitt LLP (where Jody Kriss’ father worked)
  • Roberts and Holland LLP
  • Major real estate companies iStar and CIM Group

The suit demanded $1 billion, and threatened to expose the companies’ relationships with both the Bayrock Group and Felix Sater. The above case was dismissed with prejudice in 2016.

Additionally, Lerner and Oberlander submitted two litigations alleging frivolous fraud claims against Bayrock. Both suits were, again, dismissed with prejudice. Oberlander and Lerner also attempted to derail the nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch by publishing false articles alleging collusion with Felix Sater.

The billion-dollar extortion suit also alleges:

…”Kriss and Oberlander orchestrated the theft of a hard drive from Bayrock containing numerous attorney-client privileged and judicially sealed documents, including a sealed government cooperation agreement. Then they attached certain of these sealed, extremely sensitive documents to a publicly filed complaint, an act which a Federal Judge described as ‘very bad and perhaps despicable.’ Later, in an act of criminal depravity, Oberlander and Lerner furnished the sealed government cooperation agreement to the lawyer for Daniel Persico, a reputed member of organized crime, which allegedly resulted in the assault of a Bayrock associate who had cooperated against Daniel Persico. Such appalling conduct and worse over the course of numerous related litigations caused Oberlander and Lerner to twice be referred by a Federal Judge to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation.”…

…“At all relevant times, Jody Kriss was the CFO and Finance Director of Bayrock and his father, attorney Ronald Kriss from Akerman Senterfitt, was Bayrock’s outside general counsel. Jody Kriss was appointed CFO and Finance Director for Bayrock at the insistence and encouragement of his father. As CFO and Finance Director, Jody Kriss managed and controlled all of Bayrock’s finances, loans, and relationships with lenders, including the deal structures alleged in this qui tam Complaint.”…

The suit goes on to note that Jody Kriss’ nickname while employed at Bayrock was “Vorton”. This was a play on words between his business school Wharton and the Russian word “vor”, which means “thief”. Russian mob members are known as “vor-in-laws”.

As alleged in a related suit, Jody Kriss used to brag that he could steal more money with his degree alone than a hundred gangsters combined.

Yesterday’s lawsuit is Felix Sater v. Jody Kriss, a third party claim holding Jody Kriss responsible for all damages alleged by Oberlander and Lerner in their “qui tam” case. New York County Supreme Court, Index No. 101478/15, assigned to Judge James d’Auguste.