Early on Concerto developer Sonny Astani said he thought the whole Starwood-FDIC deal would result "in lawsuits and bad publicity." It's now becoming obvious that Astani is leading the charge on both those fronts. In addition to battling the Starwood-FDIC entity that owns the loan on his project, he just launched a web site called "Starwood Killed My Job", a site that outlines his numerous grievances against Starwood/FDIC, including his allegation that Starwood's actions are hurting the LA economy. Additionally, Astani is running a full page ad targeting the Starwood-FDIC deal in this this week's Weekly Standard, a conservative business and political magazine, according to his press rep. Asked for a response to Astani's web site, Peter Marino, spokesman for ST Residential, the entity now overseeing Astani's loan, wrote in an email: "It’s quite simple really, if Mr. Astani can cover his loan commitments he won’t have any issues with us. Furthermore, contrary to what the web site will lead viewers to believe, the completion of construction continues in earnest at the project, as there are hundreds of construction workers on site every day.”
Ron Hudson, CEO of Superior Wall Systems, which is working on the Concerto tower, tells us that he has believes that there are currently 50-75 construction workers on the tower. That's the right number of people for what he says is the "winding down" of a project this size, and which is nearly finished. "That is not an abnormal size crew, " he says, of the crew working on Concerto. "What’s abnormal is that it has taken an extra nine months to finish the project." He believes that Astani would have started the second tower by now if there weren't delays.
Asked about Hudson's comments, Marino conceded the number may be smaller than "hundreds," but reiterated the point that work is proceeding as it should be.
Meanwhile, as for Astani's predictions that investors would get sick of the bad publicity? A rep for New York-based real estate company LeFrak Organization, which has invested in the Starwood-FDIC deal, and which has recently made a push to buy property in Hollywood, declined to comment on Astani's allegations.
This is the ad, which was forwarded by a rep for Astani, running in the Weekly Standard. We have trimmed the border so it can fit on the site.
· Starwood Killed My Job [Official Site]