Chinese investors file motion to recover stake in rejected Gold Coast tower

Chinese investors file motion to recover stake in rejected Gold Coast tower

EB-5 Visa, EB5 Visa, EB5 Investments

Rendering by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP of The Carillon, inserted into an image by Rob Sall.

Nearly two years after a proposed Gold Coast hotel/condominium was not given city approval to proceed, an attorney for a group of 90 Chinese investors has filed a motion in United States District Court to compel the developer to disclose the location of $49.5 million of the investors' money.

Doug Litowitz

Doug Litowitz (left) of Deerfield, Illinois, is also asking a federal judge to freeze the assets of Symmetry Property Development, LLC. The New York-based company wanted to build a 42-story mixed-use structure at 42-46 East Superior Street, with a 200-unit hotel, 154 residential units, and 225-seat Gibson's restaurant.

The project, however, was rejected in April 2017 by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly, who was concerned about its impact on traffic.

Each of the 60 investors contributed at least $550,000, hoping to secure an American visa through a federal program known as the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

Their federal class action lawsuit filed on November 28, 2018, in United States District Court alleges securities fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Annabelle Yao, a Chinese citizen, is suing on behalf of herself and the other investors, all of whom reside in China and collectively invested $49.5 million in the project, money they now say they cannot get back. Seven defendants are named in the suit, including Symmetry Property Development and its managing partner, Jeffrey Laytin.

The tower would have replaced a trio of picturesque 19th century rowhouses that may still be demolished. Heneghan Wrecking & Excavating filed an application to demolish the buildings, but architectural preservationists won a 90-day demolition delay that will expire on March 9.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

Lawsuit against Litowitz alleges fraud and defamation

A lawsuit filed last October in New York state court accuses Litowitz, Chicago real estate developer Zoe Ma, and a consulting firm in Hong Kong of making false statements about an EB-5 center to a different group of Chinese investors.

U.S. Immigration Fund, LLC, which acts as an intermediary between the U.S. government and foreign investors, says the defendants convinced the investors to withdraw their money from a mixed-use project in New York's Times Square.

They are seeking up to $23 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Litowitz disputes the claims, saying the complaint "is intended solely to harass and annoy."


Litigation Cases


  • New York

Securities Disclaimer

This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.