Youngwoo Sues Ex-Employee Over Plans for AIG Site

Youngwoo & Associates LLC accused a former employee of misappropriating confidential data and seeking to oust the company as development manager for the former American International Group Inc. site in Manhattan.

In a lawsuit filed today in New York state court in Manhattan, Youngwoo and another plaintiff, YWA Two Eagles LLC, claim that Andrew Kim, the former employee, joined Youngwoo’s joint venture partner, Kumho Investment Bank, in a bid to replace them as developer of the New York properties.

The plaintiffs said in the suit that they bought the real estate last year along with South Korea-based Kumho and Korean investors. Kumho’s representatives “lied” to potential investors, telling them it planned to flip, or resell, the property for a quick return, according to the complaint.

No one at Kumho could reached for comment after business hours. Efforts to reach Kim by telephone were unsuccessful.

The properties -- a building at 70 Pine Street and another connected to it by a pedestrian bridge at 72 Wall Street -- were purchased for $150 million, according to the lawsuit.

Kumho invested $53 million in the plan and held the majority equity stake, Youngwoo alleges, and was required by Korean law to reduce that investment to $20 million by February.

Kim was hired after the closing of the transaction to work on the plan and serve as the intermediary with Kumho.

“However, defendant demonstrated gross incompetence in his job performance” and was fired in September, according to the complaint. He was then hired by Kumho to work on the project, the lawsuit states.

Youngwoo said in its complaint it is a Manhattan-based real estate developer with more than 30 years experience in the U.S.

The case is Young Woo & Associates v. Andrew Kim, 652208- 2010, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net

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