October 6, 2011 / 11:11 PM / 7 years ago

Goldman unit sued for canceling Lehman sale deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEHMQ.PK sued an affiliate of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), saying it used pretextual excuses to avoid closing on a real estate purchase worth at least $385 million.

The Lehman Brothers booth on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, is shown in this September 16, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

Lehman’s Rosslyn LB Syndication Partner LLC unit, which is not part of Lehman’s ongoing bankruptcy, filed a lawsuit on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan seeking to force Goldman’s Usreo/Rosslyn Investors LLC to close on the deal.

Lehman is also seeking to keep Goldman’s $100 million deposit as damages.

The complaint does not reveal the purchase price, but earlier court documents show that Lehman’s proceeds from the deal would amount to “not less than $385 million.” Lehman has said in court papers that the 10-property office portfolio is valued at nearly $1.26 billion.

According to the lawsuit, Goldman backed out of the deal on Tuesday, two days before the agreed-upon closing date. Goldman said Lehman had failed to disclose certain leasing agreements, and that some tenant documents were inconsistent with terms of the deal, according to the complaint.

Lehman rejected those grounds as “pretextual,” saying Goldman was looking for an excuse to “avoid its contractual obligations.”

The purchase agreement gave Lehman 15 days to correct any shortcomings in disclosures, and Goldman breached the deal by failing to provide that window, Lehman alleged.

The Rosslyn, Virginia property is part of Lehman’s real estate portfolio, which it is in the process of offloading to pay back its creditors.

Real estate sales are expected to bring in $13.2 billion by the end of 2014, according to other Lehman court filings.

Lehman has already made $3 billion from real estate sales since filing its $639 billion bankruptcy in 2008, according to court papers.

Lehman holds a 78.5 percent partnership stake in the 3 million-square-foot Rosslyn portfolio, whose corporate tenants include Northrup Grumman, Boeing (BA.N) and Raytheon (RTN.N), according to the filing.

A spokesman for Goldman declined to comment on Thursday.

The case is Rosslyn LB Syndication Partner LLC v. Usreo/Rosslyn Investors LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-2764.

The Lehman bankruptcy is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc, in the same court, No. 08-13555.

Reporting by Nick Brown; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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