What's the Analogy to Obama's Health Care Plan for Undervalued Empire State Realty Trust Investors?

Ahead of this afternoon's Appellate Division argument challenging Malkin Holdings LLC's conduct in pushing for the public sale of shares in a new REIT that includes the Empire State Building, Fox Business News yesterday aired an interview with a broker hammering the REIT's early performance.

The interviewee said that the IPO grossly undervalued the new shares existing Empire State Building investors received.

While Fox Business noted that the broker represented parties that offered to buy the Empire State Building, countering the Empire State Realty Trust IPO proposal pushed hard by Malkin and the majority owners, the Helmsley Trust, the business cable network didn't say that the broker's dad was the one leading today's court charge.

And neither did the guest, Avison Young broker Jason Meister.

Attorney Stephen B. Meister surely will be more targeted when he argues the appellate case that the Malkins' push to take the Empire State Building public--folding into the REIT a total of 18 properties that the Malkins managed--was coercive for the original investors.  He will argue that it violated state and federal statutes when investors were told that they would only get a $100 payout for shares that would be worth more than $320,000 on the open market if they tendered their shares for the IPO.

Son Jason made that same argument on Fox Business yesterday, nicely laying out the math that he said demonstrated that the old ESB investors' shares are worth $100,000 less than promised.  Those numbers have been floated previously by ESRT IPO opponents.

But while the Fox Business host wished Jason luck in today's argument, neither he nor the younger Meister discussed how the family had been working together to thwart the IPO, or their lack of success in doing so.  The Empire State Realty Trust went public the first week of October, and now trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares at this writing are down slightly today at $14, but still above the the IPO price of $12.65.

Stephen Meister, name partner in New York's Meister Seelig & Fein, represents investors who oppose the REIT plan.  In the Appellate Division, he will ask the New York state court to invalidate the public offering and compensate his clients, the original 2,800 investors who held one share each in the world's most famous building.  

He will argue that the buyout was confiscatory as to the investor's stake. You can see his brief on the opposition's website, here

But he will probably not use the analogies Jason reached for yesterday--of investors with guns to their heads, supported with an analogy about President Obama lying about health care.  The Real Deal has posted the uncomfortable performance here, and makes clear how Stephen and Jason worked closely on counteroffering the Malkins with this alternative ESB purchase document, here.

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