When customers chasing you for millions of dollars in trust, debt collectors knocking on your door, and getting your own mother in hot water after forging her signature on loan documents, you don’t get the “Most Dubious Real Estate Figure of the Year” award, then nothing comes of it.
Mitchell Kossoff, who represented some of New York’s largest multi-family rental companies, appears to have disappeared early last month. His clients and partners in his law firm of the same name were reportedly unable to reach him for weeks. (It goes without saying that Commercial Observer could not reach Kossoff for comment either.)
While Kossoff’s exact whereabouts may be a mystery, his legal troubles are very well documented.
As of early April, Kossoff was being sued by companies including SSM Realty Group for a lack of fiduciary funds with claims of at least $ 4 million. Four landlords later involuntarily filed for bankruptcy against Kossoff, accusing him of withdrawing $ 8 million from their escrow accounts.
By May, it appeared that a new lawsuit against Kossoff was popping up in court every week. Add to this the more than $ 4 million in loans that lenders, mostly merchant prepayment companies, have tried to raise and claims in court that Kossoff has defaulted.
Kossoff’s law firm also appears to have broken up as the website goes dark in mid-April. The staff resigned, adding to Kossoff’s increasing legal problems Filing a lawsuit claiming they are missing paychecks.
But perhaps the coup de grace for Kossoff’s worthiness for this infamous award was the Mother’s Day present he gave to his elder mother, Phyllis Kossoff. She alleged her son fabricated her signature on more than $ 2 million in defaulted loans and a lender came along in court to collect it.
“I am 94 years old and the victim of a terrible fraud,” Phyllis Kossoff wrote in an affidavit.
Though Kossoff made his clients and colleagues ghostly for weeks, he at least had the decency to turn to his mother during his disappearance to inform her of the scam.
“I only found out about the scam last week when my son Mitchell Kossoff told me that there were some documents that had my signature that I hadn’t signed,” wrote Phyllis Kossoff.
All of this has not gone unnoticed by the New York authorities. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has reportedly opened an investigation to see if Kossoff misused his clients’ funds. (A spokesman for the DA office declined to comment.)