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Ownership of numerous Back Bay, downtown luxury condos hinges on legal action involving Saudi companies, citizens and a murderous crown prince

A Saudi company that claims it was defrauded of billions of dollars in a scheme by a conniving Saudi citizen and his sons last week filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court to demand it be allowed to seize condos on the 52nd floor of One Dalton Place and at the Mandarin Oriental and Millennium Place that it says were purchased by its alleged money siphoners.

Two of the people being sued, however, moved today to have the case transferred to federal court in Boston, arguing that only federal courts can properly deal with an international case that involves Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his alleged attempts to consolidate power and to subvert the American justice system to carry out his grudges, in a case they say might even reveal embarassing details of cooperation between him and American officials.

In its filing in Suffolk Superior Court, the Sakab Saudi Holding Co. asked a judge to uphold a ruling by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice letting it take over the condos to help it recoup the $3.5 billion it alleges were stolen from its accounts, money that was meant for "performing anti-terrorism activities in the public interest" of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The company alleges that Saad Khalid Aljabri, a one-time Saudi official, his two sons and various companies they set up managed to abscond with the money in a scheme lasting years, and that they used the money in part to invest in luxury real estate in several countries, including Canada and the US.

In moving the case to federal court - where a judge might have to consider both Ontario and Saudi law - the Aljabris argue they did nothing wrong except get on the wrong side of bin Salman in his power strugggle with another crown prince for control of the country and that, much like the "disappearance" of that other crown prince, and the murder and carving up of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, bin Salman is pulling the strings in this case as well.

They allege everything they did with the money was work approved by Sakab and sanctioned by the other crown prince in the furtherance of both Saudi and American national-securint interests, at least before bin Salman consolidated power and the other crown prince was disappeared. They add that everything Sakab did was at the direction of Saudi princes and officials, who set up the company "to conceal the involvement of the Saudi government in covert operations."

This Action is bin Salman's latest attack in a violent campaign to silence Defendant Dr. Saad Aljabri, who poses a threat to bin Salman by virtue of his close relationships with the former Crown Prince bin Nayef and the United States Government. And though framed as a commercial dispute, this Action implicates serious federal interests.

At issue in Boston are ownership of eight luxury condos, all currently owned by Al Jabri's New East 804 805 LLC, headquartered in New York.

One Dalton Place

Two units on the 52nd floor, purchased in 2019: A 2,945-sq-foot, 5-room, 2-bedroom unit with two deeded parking spaces assessed at $8.8 million and a 1,403-square-foot 4-room, 2-bedroom unit with one parking space.

Mandarin Oriental

One unit on the tenth floor, 2,556 square feet with 5 rooms, 2 of them bedrooms and two parking spaces, assessed at $4.5 million and purchased in 2017.

Millennium Place

  • 3rd floor unit with 813 square feet, 3 rooms, 1 bedroom and 1 parking space, assessed at $879,800;
  • 7th floor unit, 779 square feet, 3 rooms, 1 bedroom, 1 parking space, assessed at $872,600;
  • 8th floor unit, 777 square feet, 3 rooms, 1 bedroom, 1 parking space, assessed at $819,600;
  • 8th-floor unit, 1,166 square feet, 4 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 parking space, assessed at $1.2 million;
  • 16th floor penthouse, 2,654 square feet, 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 parking spaces, assessed at $4 million.

All the units were purchased in 2013.

Sakab demand to seize the condos (21M PDF).
Aljabri request to have cases transferred to federal court (89k PDF).

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Fascinating. Assuming they are all sitting empty?

3 one bedrooms, 4 two bedrooms and 1 three bedroom penthouse. Annual non-resident property taxes: $269k. Add-in condo fees probably equal to 50% of that, another $135k

Using starting valuation, current value, properties purchased for $22.1M. Current worth, $25M.

(The Mandarin unit was offered for rent at $17k per month, but the listing came down in 2020 after 3 years.)

Voting closed 39

from play to pay developers, unions, and their lobbyist pals.


Voting closed 16

The complaint alleges most of them are being rented out.

Voting closed 38

And the guys tasked with keeping it going got greedy now wanna have the Feds "protect" them by offering dirt in exchange for not sending them back to the Butcher.

Voting closed 42

.... is the lack of affordability for regular Bostonians to buy or rent these condos. Yet we must host them and settle the disputes of the owners and provide them with other services.
We even build these Trojan horses for them.

Voting closed 51

If property tax on these is really 200k+ then bring em on.

Voting closed 36

They're a net win, financially at least: nobody living in those apartments and paying all those property taxes is sending their kids to Boston public schools, so we get the revenue but not much of the costs.

Voting closed 38

... when valuable space it taken up and nothing is given in return but a dollar amount. You can’t put a price on that. The city is being sold off in parcels.

Voting closed 32

You seem to be cosplaying getting nailed to the cross for all our sins so well.

PS - You can put a price on everything. JetBlue flies to Havana if you want to live in some proto-communist system. Things are different here.

Voting closed 31

Try being less predictable.

Voting closed 25

You rant like Kevin Spacey and Claire Bloom trying to outdo each other at a Eugene O'Neil symposium. Try being less hysterical and more real world in your rants. I have albums from the 80's that skip and repeat less than you.

Voting closed 32

These are mostly in tall towers. It's not like the family housing out in the outer neighborhoods are being tied up in mothballs which has happened in places like Vancouver. The costs of high tower construction in downtown neighborhoods make them an ineffective way to house non-rich people so better to just have a few towers around that generate cash for those of us who live here.

Voting closed 37

These buildings go "up" not "out", and there's really no impact on residential housing in the city because it's not like the previous owner got priced out and had to move to a condo in Somerville thus creating a trickle down effect.

These aren't homes as much as they are investments and tax shelters.

Voting closed 17

I know you want to pretend someone owes you something for building a tower and pumping a couple billion in the local economy, but it just isn't so. The BRA got straight cash of $50K for each unit at One Dalton and they contribute huge property taxes for very little services.

Voting closed 21

How you propose to actually fund the construction of affordable housing downtown.

The Winthrop Square Garage was sold to Millennium Partners for $150 million and that was only after Shirley Kressel kicked up a fuss about that land basically being given away to the developers for maybe a tenth of that. That land is probably worth, in reality, even more than that.

Based on the 2018 PDA application to the BPDA, the developers touted $18 million in state sales tax revenue for construction materials (this equates to just under $300 million in cost at 6.25%) and $21.5 million in state personal income tax revenue due to construction (so roughly $400 million in wages paid).

So we're talking about at least $850 million for a 1.65 million square foot building, which might be adequate for up to 1,500 units given that you need space for common halls, lobbies, trash rooms, mechanical, etc. (The developer's plan was for 500 residential units and something like 750,000 sq. ft. of office.) That's a minimum construction cost of $567K per unit; giving away the land for free would drop the cost by $100K.

$500K for an 800 sq ft 2-bedroom is probably not what you think of as "affordable," but that's likely the bare minimum for what it would cost to build downtown or in the Back Bay, ignoring all the other costs (permitting fees, linkage payments, financing, developer costs, etc.).

Voting closed 25

Magoo’s nose knows the truth. It can sniff it out. Many don’t know this but Magoo moonlights as a private eye. Magoo.

Voting closed 29

and you're off this case. I can't have a troublemaker like you sniffing around, so beat it!

Voting closed 23

Ugh. Wha? I'm just native Boston resident who pays my property taxes for my humble little home in Hyde Park. I.E. I'm a nobody who can't offer anything else. But I know my neighbors and enjoy our chats and watch each other's backs. I know the people who own the high wealth property in the luxury units ike Dalton don't.

Voting closed 17