Owners of Oakland's Tribune Tower, other buildings embroiled in lawsuit

Owners of Oakland's Tribune Tower, other buildings embroiled in lawsuit

Partners who created one of Oakland's biggest job centers and bought four downtown office buildings, including the Tribune Tower, have fallen out and are on opposite sides of a lawsuit.

Allan Young is alleging that Tom Henderson blocked Young from accessing financial information in their company, Callsocket, which operates a call center with hundreds of agents in the Tribune Tower, and other businesses.

Young also claims that Henderson used funds, which were primarily raised from Chinese investors under the EB-5 foreign investment program, for personal use and buying real estate. CallSocket and its affiliates bought the Tribune Tower at 409 13th St., as well as 517 17th St., 1740 Broadway and 2001 Broadway.

The August complaint was filed in Alameda County Superior Court and also names Henderson's sons, Matthew and Michael, as defendants. 

Henderson previously told the San Francisco Business Times that the downtown Oakland properties were funded by bank loans and acquired at a steep discount after the recession.

Young is seeking access to CallSocket's financial details and an injunction blocking Henderson from withdrawing money.

Henderson's attorney, Leeds Disston of Casalina & Disston, has filed a demurrer that seeks to dismiss Young's suit. “Our position is that we believe the lawsuit is without merit. We are still in the pleading phase. We hope to provide sufficient information to Allan Young’s attorney and the court that will demonstrate that they don’t have a case. We are putting the case together at this time," said Henderson. "If Allan Young’s lawsuit is not dismissed we will immediately file a counter suit.”

Henderson claims that Young previously resigned from the partnership and lacks standing to sue. Young's attorney denies these claims and the complaint says that Young still has a 47.5 percent stake in CallSocket.

"Mr. Young has alleged in the complaint that Mr. Young had a significant ownership interest in all three CallSocket entities and maintains that interest to this day and vigorously disputes the assertion that he has resigned his interest," said Jonathan Levine of Pritzker Levine LLP, Young's attorney.

Young's response to Henderson's demurrer is due by November. If the lawsuit isn't dismissed, it would then proceed to discovery phase.

CallSocket has grown using EB-5 financing, a federal program that allows foreigners to gain visas in around two years after investing at least $500,000 in the U.S. and creating or preserving 10 local jobs. CallSocket is becoming one of the largest private employers in Oakland, with around 500 jobs created in the last two years in its call center, shipping facility and a healthcare center. The organization also runs Runway, a technology incubator in the Twitter building at 1355 Market St. in San Francisco. Henderson also plans to open a grocery store in West Oakland and dairy in the Central Valley.

Separately, Young is also running a tech incubator called TopLine in Richmond.

Henderson was previously sued by another partner, chef Chris Pastena, who operated the Tribune Tavern and Lungomare restaurants. Pastena claimed that Henderson didn't share financial information from the restaurants. The two later settled in February,



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