Aqua Club Inc., operator of the V.I.P. Country Club, wants to keep a $2 million deposit on a failed sale of the New Rochelle beach club.
Aqua last month sued New York Property Acquisition LLC and Mata Amritanandamayi Center – MA Center for short – for breach of contract in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
The V.I.P., at 600 Davenport Ave., is a popular banquet site for weddings, proms and corporate events.
MA is registered as a nonprofit religious organization in Castro Valley, California. It is a satellite ashram of a global charitable organization based in southern India, whose 63-year-old leader, Mata Amritanandamayi, is a Hindu guru much revered by her followers.
Aqua tried to sell the V.I.P. to MA in 2015 but negotiations broke down, the lawsuit says, due to MA’s “aggressive and offensive tactics.” MA knew that Aqua would not make a deal with it, according to the lawsuit.
Last year, Aqua negotiated a deal with Pittsburgh attorney Richard B. Sandow, managing member of New York Property Acquisition. They agreed on a $20 million price in October, including a $2 million deposit.
Both sides vouched that they had not dealt with any real estate broker or intermediary for their transaction. It was understood, the lawsuit says, that New York Property would assign its rights to a new entity. Aqua learned in January that the new entity is Westchester Shores Event Holdings Inc., financed and controlled by MA.
Aqua claims the defendants had concealed this information. It would not have disclosed confidential information to New York Property, the lawsuit says, and it would not have made the deal, had it known the buyer’s true identity.
The transaction was supposed to close on Jan. 30 but Sandow asked for an extension. Aqua declined and responded with a default letter accusing New York Property of misrepresenting the true identity of the buyer.
Aqua wants the court to order release of the $2 million deposit to Aqua from a jointly-controlled account.
MA and New York Property had not responded to the lawsuit as of March 13.
The V.I.P. is on Davenport Neck, a promontory jutting into New Rochelle Harbor that has been a popular location for beach clubs since the 1940s. But shifting economic conditions and stunning vistas of Long Island Sound have made the location prime real estate for development.
The city’s waterfront plan calls for a transition from beach clubs to multifamily housing. WatermarkPointe luxury condominiums have been approved at the former Beckwith Pointe beach club on the southern tip of Davenport Neck.