3 Speculators, 119 Homes, 57 LLCs
Brothers Joseph and Elliot Ambalo and their partner Etai Vardi use a web of LLCs to acquire shares of residential properties across New York City. We’re publishing the LLC names.
Three real estate speculators, brothers Joseph and Elliot Ambalo and Etai Vardi, were the subject of a recent investigation by THE CITY, which examined claims that they had ripped off fractional property heirs and unearthed multiple fraud and forgery allegations in transactions involving the speculators’ limited liability companies.
Some in law enforcement and the housing advocacy world had heard of this speculator ring before, but the extent of their activities was difficult to grasp because the investors purchased their properties under the cover of generically named LLCs, such as Blackstone Real Estate Group and North Bronx Ventures.
THE CITY found these obscure companies by compiling and reading through thousands of court and deed transfer records.
Heirs who are approached to sell fractional shares are especially vulnerable. Often, their relatives died without a will. They may know nothing about their inheritances and lack attorneys to help them. In many cases, they live outside New York City, and have no inkling of the potential value of their shares.
At least one 78-year-old woman approached by the speculators about a house in Queens told THE CITY that she thought the businessmen were helping her process a calculated inheritance she had been allotted. In reality, they got her to sign onto a deed transfer, which the Queens County Public administrator is now seeking to vacate.
Tenants often have little idea of who is behind the changes in ownership of the properties, many of which they have been living in for years. Clyde and Natalie Huddlin, two residents that THE CITY spoke to, didn’t make much of the residential removal petition that they received in February. Someone left a pile of papers on the front step of their home in St. Albans, Queens. It didn’t seem official, so they didn’t get a lawyer.
“I didn’t take it serious,” recalled Natalie Huddlin, 46, a childcare provider.
But the removal demand was real.
It was officially being carried out in the name of one of the deceased homeowner’s relatives but the speculators are likely involved. The relative, who lives in Maryland, used a business address associated with the Ambalos and Vardi in her removal petition. A few weeks before the Huddlins got the papers, one of the speculators’ LLCs, New York Asset Recovery Group, entered into a memorandum of contract with the relative to sell them the house.
Natalie told THE CITY she is worried the judge will order her to move at their next scheduled court date in August.
To provide public information about these speculators’ home purchase and eviction efforts to heirs, tenants and other affected residents, THE CITY is disclosing numerous LLC names that the investors have used since 2018. This list is not definitive, and the investors may deploy other company names in the future.
Residents who would like to learn more about the LLCs on this list can search the city’s deed database, ACRIS, by these business names to learn more about their transaction histories. They can also search New York’s online court search tool to learn about the LLCs’ residential removal and eviction efforts.
Limited Liability Companies Associated with Joseph and Elliot Ambalo and Etai Vardi
135 STREET INVESTORS LLC
153 FOCH LLC
1847 NEREID LLC
19138 115 ROAD ASSOCIATES LLC
229 CLIFTON PLACE LLC
76 ROCKAWAY BLVD LLC
ACTION NO 37 LLC
ACTION NO 53 LLC
BERGEN STREET MANAGING PARTNERS LLC
BK 146 LLC
BK 950 LLC
BK AUTUMN 701 LLC
BK BEVERLEY LLC
BK DEVOE LLC
BK DEVOE STREET LLC
BK MACON LLC
BK ROSEDALE LLC
BK SARATOGA LLC
BK SHEFFIELD LLC
BLACKROCK EQUITY GROUP LLC
BLACKROCK REAL ESTATE GROUP LLC
BLACKSTONE REAL ESTATE GROUP LLC
BROOKLYN GATES LLC
BX 1076 LLC
BX 1331 LLC
BX MULINER LLC
BX ROSEDALE LLC
EAST NEW YORK RLTY LLC
GILLESPIE AVENUE DEVELOPMENT LLC
GREEN BAMBA LLC
JACKIE 42 LLC
KINGS COUNTY FOUNDATION LLC
MACDONOUGH STREET DEVELOPMENT LLC
MANHATTAN FOUNDATION LLC
MN W 152 LLC
NEW YORK ASSET RECOVERY FOUNDATION LLC
NEW YORK ASSET RECOVERY GROUP LLC
NORTH BRONX VENTURES LLC
NORTH BUSHWICK VENTURES LLC
NORTH QUEENS VENTURES LLC
ONE EIGHTEEN 204 HOLDINGS LLC
ONE THREE SEVEN 24 HOLDINGS LLC
ONE TWENTY TWO HOLDINGS LLC
ONE ZERO FIVE 39 HOLDINGS LLC
QN 147 VENTURES LLC
QN 204 LLC
QN 48 LLC
QN NAMEOKE LLC
QN ST ALBANS HOLDINGS LLC
SOUTH BRONX VENTURES LLC
SOUTH JAMAICA HOLDINGS LLC
SOUTH JAMAICA HOLDINGS 2 LLC
STATEN ISLAND VENTURES LLC
THE BROOKLYN FOUNDATION LLC
THE EASTERN AND ATLANTIC FOUNDATION LLC
THE QUEENS FOUNDATION LLC
THE QUEENS FOUNDATION MMXX LLC