(CN) – A New York developer says the Republic of Senegal acted “like the notorious deadbeat who swears that ‘the check is in the mail'” in failing to consummate a $27 million real estate deal. “This case should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about doing business with Senegal,” Hotel 44th St. LLC and the East 46th Street Development Co. say in their federal complaint.
They claim the west African nation agreed in August to buy the building at 227-235 East 44th Street in Manhattan for $27 million. “All that was required from Senegal to close was to provide the twenty five million dollars, ($25,000,000) the balance of the purchase price … a seemingly easy enough requirement for the government of a country that wants to be taken seriously,” according to the complaint.
But the sellers say “Representatives at the highest level of the Senegalese Government … acting like the notorious deadbeat who swears that ‘the check is in the mail'” kept putting off the deal with false assurances and promises.
Those representatives include the Senegalese ambassador to the United Nations, its energy minister, a financial adviser and even the ruler of Senegal himself, the plaintiffs say. They add: “Although the check may have been in the mail, it never arrived, and Senegal has been unable to fund the purchase price.”
The plaintiffs say they have suffered more than $15 million in damages, and that because of Senegal’s bath faith, will be forced to enter into a deed in lieu of foreclosure with the lender.
The plaintiffs are represented by Neal Barlia with Dickstein Shapiro.