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President of The Board of Sky Las Vegas, Aaron Yashouafar, Files Bankruptcy AGAIN! Is A Sky Las Vegas Bankruptcy Coming?, Robert Paisola Reports for NBC News

President of The Board of Sky Las Vegas, Aaron Yashouafar, Files Bankruptcy AGAIN! Is A Sky Las Vegas Bankruptcy Coming?, Robert Paisola Reports for NBC News

Owners of First National Center in Oklahoma City declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Read The Story from The Verizon Wire Service

From The Village Voice about Yashouafar


Aaron Yashouafar Milbank Realty Site

Aaron Yashouafar Q&A


From The OK Central 

You can download the bankruptcy filing here. NYC

" They were proud of their $21 million sale to Californian Aaron Yashouafar. It might not have been in the best interest in the property or downtown, but it sure as heck was in the best interest of themselves and the seller, who reportedly had mortgaged the property to the hint to fund a disastrous investment in the Catskills.
I was immediately skeptical. That very first day I privately suggested to some downtown acquaintances that the deal might be immediately doomed -that such a high price could only lead to bankruptcy court.
We saw that happen today."

"He had a good public relations firm – Saxum and Renzi Stone – but by 2008 they were suing over unpaid billings."

Ouch. It’s never good when you get sued by your own public relations firm.

Liens and court filings started becoming commonplace, and Yashouafar was simply bewildered when I came around asking questions. In Los Angeles, such matters would be trivial, he explained, and wouldn’t be worth the time of a major newspaper reporter.

Yeah, maybe so. But by saying so, Yashouafar was showing a fundamental misunderstanding of Oklahoma City. This is a big city wired like a small town. And folks were talking. This was news. People care.

More popular tenants joined the exodus, including Italian Express, Becky’s Hallmark and The Buzz. The loss of such popular anchors made the space on the upper floors less valuable to potential corporate tenants.

In real estate the card shop, the coffee shop and Italian restaurant are considered amenities. For Yashouafar, they were just among the long list of folks he felt were due an increase in rent to Class A rates. He had promised to bring the building up to Class A levels, and by golly, the tenants had an obligation to share in the cost of getting to that goal.

Yashouafar had been warned these tenants had been burned by prior owners. They were not going to simply believe promises of a better future ahead – even if the landlord insisted he was different – that he would do what he said.

The tenants wanted to see visible progress. They wanted to see the cracked windows replaced. They wanted to see the restrooms rebuilt – and moved to each floor."

The owners of downtown Oklahoma City's First National Center, led by Milbank Real Estate Chief Executive Aaron Yashouafar, declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy following foreclosure by the mortgage holder.... Is Sky Las Vegas Next?

Photo of Robert Paisola, CEO and President, Western Capital International 
Published: October 9, 2010
Owners of downtown Oklahoma City's landmark First National Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday, just hours before a scheduled receivership hearing in Oklahoma County District Court.


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First National Center owners file for bankruptcy thumbnail
Oct 8
Owners of downtown Oklahoma City's landmark First National Center...

More Info

At a glance 
Top unsecured creditors
→ThyssenKrupp Elevator Inc.: $591,731.
→LVI Environmental Service: $341,204.
→Trigen: $313,007.
→Cushman & Wakefield: $184,369.
→OG&E: $82,549.
→Superior Security: $64,686.
→Williams Automatic Sprinklers: $43,180.
→Transwestern: $37,155.
→First Maintenance: $25,321.

→Schindler Elevator: $22,946.
California bankruptcy court documents show First National I and First National II — investment groups led by Milbank Real Estate Chief Executive Officer Aaron Yashouafar — reporting liabilities between $10 million and $50 million.

Still committed
"We are committed to our investment and our promise of supporting the downtown Oklahoma City business community,” Yashouafar said Friday. "Ownership of First National Center is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Our tenants' leases remain secure and building operations will continue without interruption. This reorganization permits us to address the lenders' issues while continuing to renovate and lease this historic building.”

Yashouafar spent much of the summer battling a foreclosure by Capmark Bank before Oklahoma County District Court Judge Vicki Robertson ruled in favor of Capmark and ordered both sides to agree on a receiver.

The receivership hearing scheduled for Friday morning was canceled. Rob Robertson, attorney for Capmark, could not be reached for comment.

Huge and historic
First National Center spans more than 1 million square feet and includes the 33-story, 79-year-old tower. The First National partnerships led by Yashouafar purchased the property in 2006 for $21 million.

At the time of the purchase, the family-run Milbank Real Estate promised it would not repeat problems experienced with previous owners, who for example failed to fix broken windows.
"We stand by our word,”
said Raymond Yashouafar, Milbank's vice president of operations, in a September 2006 interview.

"We have a good reputation where we've already done work. The previous ownership made a lot of promises, and didn't follow through. We don't do that.”

Four years later many of the same cracked windows remain in place. A renovation of the first floor retail arcade has remained unfinished — indeed, stalled for months. Several high-profile tenants chose to leave rather than agree to rent hikes.

Records show the Yashouafars are experiencing difficulties with properties across the country. 

The Roosevelt, a historic building in Los Angeles, was placed in bankruptcy by Yashouafar while it was being converted into condominiums. And more than a dozen properties in the Bronx went into bankruptcy as tenants' complaints prompted The Village Voice to list Aaron Yashouafar as one among New York City's top 10 slumlords.

A website was created by tenants at Yashouafar's Sky Las Vegas condominiums earlier this year that posts pictures of broken elevators and flooded residences in the 47-story tower on the Las Vegas Strip.  (Referring to THIS SITE AT

Dismissed claims
In a July interview with The Oklahoman, Aaron Yashouafar said First National was already a financial success story and he dismissed those who claimed he was a bad steward of the property. "Through the financial resources made available by the owners,” he said, "the management team has been able to raise the occupancy from the low 20 percent range to almost 65 percent in just four years.

"In a building as large as First National Center, this translates to over 400,000 square feet of new leases,” Yashouafar said. "I am not aware of any other building in downtown Oklahoma City experiencing such a transformation.”

Read more:

Aaron Yashouafar Stated Holdings

Formerly known as the “Home Savings Tower,” this two-time winner of the BOMA “Office Building of the Year Award” is a trophy office building in the Downtown Los Angeles Central Business District. Situated directly above three main lines of the Los Angeles MTA subway system, this property is home to the famous “Sky Lobby,” decorated with renowned murals and vaulted ceilings, and is a past winner of the Rose Award for “Best Structure.” Figueroa Tower’s prestige has made it home to many of the area’s most prominent law firms and corporations, such as HSBC’s Bank USA, which established its regional west coast headquarters and first full-service retail banking branch in Los Angeles.
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Location: Downtown Los Angeles, California
Purchased: 2004
Type: Class A office building
Size: 278,800 ft2
Number of Stories: 25

This property was Milbank's first investment in the United States. Since the purchase, it has undergone major renovations through Milbank's in-house construction department, most recently in excess of $1.5 million. Throughout ownership, Milbank has consistently maintained occupancy above 90 percent.
Learn more
Location: Encino, California
Purchased: 1977
Type: Office building
Size: 135,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 10

Milbank acquired three acres of undeveloped land on the “Las Vegas Strip” and broke ground on this major residential development within a year. Sky Las Vegas is the first luxury residential high-rise building ever completed on the Las Vegas Strip. Three floors of high-end retail commercial space and 44 stories of luxury residences, with unmatched views of the entire city of Las Vegas and surrounding mountains. This high-end project boasts more than an acre of amenities, including a pool, racquetball court, putting green, movie screening room, business center and banquet facilities. By the end of construction in April 2007, the project had impressively pre-sold and closed more than 85 percent of the residential units.
Learn more
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Purchased: 2004
Type: Mixed-use high-rise condominium development
Size: 750,000 ft2 total
45,000 ft2 retail

Number of Stories: 47
Number of Units: 409
Sky Logo

Milbank transformed this historic Los Angeles landmark building into adaptive reuse condominium residences, combining historic d├ęcor with cutting-edge modern architecture and functionality.  The Roosevelt, with its prime location in the heart of Downtown, offers 222 exquisite single and multi-level, open space floorplans up to 2,700 square feet. Luxurious amenities include a rooftop pool with cabanas, on-site valet parking, climate controlled wine cellar and designer kitchens. The property is located directly above three MTA subway lines and is in close proximity to 4 major freeways. Prior to conversion, the property needed vast improvements. Milbank leveraged this requirement through the condominium conversion and construction project, which coincided with an overall renaissance of the area and residential migration into Downtown LA.
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Location: Downtown Los Angeles,
Purchased: 1998
Type: Luxury residential loft development
Size: 300,000 ft2 total
35,000 ft2 retail
Number of Stories: 16 (including 4 new floors)
Number of Units: 222
Sky Logo

First national Center
After acquisition in 2006, Milbank began major renovations to revitalize and re-establish this prestigious building as the anchor of Downtown Oklahoma City after years of neglect.  This elaborate historic building offers tenants the luxuries of awe-inspiring Art Deco and Neoclassical architecture and design, unparalleled location at the “100 Percent Corner,” an outstanding 1 million square feet of office and retail space, and direct access to the Underground tunnel system. Emphasis at First National Center is now placed on style and service (on-site leasing and management), with the prestige most often found in major metropolitan cities. The property also features the grandiose Great Banking Hall, an elegant entrance of enormous proportion accessible by way of impressive Crab Orchard stone stairs, that exhibits  four original wall murals each depicting a chapter of Oklahoma history. 
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Location: Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Purchased: 2006
Type: Office building
Size: 990,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 32

First national Center

As one of Milbank’s most recent residential projects, Cielo is a luxury mixed-use project comprised of approximately 525 residential units, retail space, along with expansive under- and above-ground parking.  Cielo Phoenix offers unparalleled views of the exquisite Arizona mountains at every vantage point, state-of-the-art amenities, easy access to the dining and shopping attractions of the Camelback corridor as well as downtown’s cultural and sporting venues.  Convenience is enhanced further by the new Light Rail system and its connection to major entertainment venues in Tempe.
Learn more
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Land Purchased: 2006
Type: Luxury high-rise condominiums
Size: 1,200,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 2 towers, 36 stories each
Sky Logo

Milbank acknowledged Houston’s strong local economy, population and job growth, and favorable state tax laws by acquiring numerous properties in the area. At the time of acquisition, the three Atrium North Belt commercial office buildings were fully occupied and generating positive cash flow with in-place rental rates below market. Milbank seized the opportunity to improve the properties’ overall condition through aggressive management and leasing programs to reposition them from Class C to Class B and to increase rents.  Situated just minutes from Bush Intercontinental Airport with freeway visibility, these Greenspoint submarket properties are ideal for both small entrepreneurial and large business use. Each floor’s balcony-style hallways overlook a sun-lit ground floor lobby with atrium and glass elevators.

Learn more
Location: Houston, Texas
Purchased: 2007
Type: Office buildings
Size: 78,000 ft2 each
Number of Stories: 6 each
Number of Properties: 3

Milbank identified the Bronx borough of New York as one of the last boroughs to offer affordable rent, which would also be positioned to undergo significant gentrification. These multi-family assets had poor prior ownership with a history of neglect. Milbank identified the assets as having added value for its investors and that revitalization would occur by infusing the capital necessary to improve the condition of the buildings, as well as aggressively pursuing the collection of past-due rents – allowing for an improved tenant base and increased rental income from the properties. Milbank provides full-service management that covers all leasing and renewals, the demolition and renovation of units, billing, collections, Section 8 and low-income housing compliance, as well as litigation related to evictions, collections and other legal general matters.
Location: Bronx, New York
Purchased: 2007
Type: Residential apartments
Number of Properties: 18
Units 995

Milbank initially served as the property management company for this building located on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame,” across from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. After purchase, Milbank continued to manage the property and invested nearly $2.75 million in renovations. Milbank’s in-house leasing team then worked to more than double the building’s occupancy to 75 percent. Milbank profitably sold First Hollywood in 2005.
Location: Hollywood, California
Purchased: 1998
Type: Office building
Size: 175,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 12

After purchasing this nearly empty building located on the “Sunset Strip,” Milbank spent more than $1.5 million in renovations and brought it to near-full occupancy. Milbank procured and maintained high-profile tenants such as the Los Angeles Film School, Oscar® nominee Diane Warren, the Producer’s Guild of America, and Light Bulb Entertainment (a division of Viacom Entertainment). The property was profitably sold to the Los Angeles Film School in 2004.
Location: Hollywood, California
Purchased: 1998
Type: Office building
Size: 105,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 9

Milbank purchased a defaulted promissory note secured by a deed of trust and foreclosed on this property. Located adjacent to the Capitol Records Building at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, Milbank developed a mixed-use project that includes a five-level subterranean parking structure, underground public storage facility and street-level retail businesses, all complimented by a 6-story, 75-unit residential component.  The project plans and property were profitably sold in 2006.
Location: Hollywood, California
Purchased: 2004
Type: Surface parking lot, to be redeveloped
Size: 35,000 ft2
(land area)

Milbank negotiated with Great Western Bank to purchase a non-performing note and deed of trust related to this property, located on the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Milbank foreclosed on the property, performed substantial renovations, and within 18 months of foreclosure increased the building’s occupancy level to nearly 70 percent. The property was sold to TrizecHahn Development Company in 1998 and has since been incorporated into the company’s $600 million master development of the Kodak Theater and the Hollywood & Highland project.
Location: Hollywood, California
Purchased: 1994
Type: Office building
Size: 110,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 12

Milbank purchased this historically registered landmark commercial building and remodeled the property. Through the use of its in-house leasing team, Milbank increased the occupancy to more than 95 percent. The property was then profitably sold in 2002.
Location: Long Beach, California
Purchased: 1996
Type: Office building
Size: 88,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 11

Milbank purchased this distressed property and revitalized it by investing more than $350,000 in construction and renovations. Through Milbank’s in-house leasing team, the occupancy was raised to more than 85 percent, and was then profitably sold in 2004.
Location: Long Beach, California
Purchased: 1995
Type: Office building
Size: 65,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 7

Milbank purchased this promising property in 2005. Milbank is in the process of redeveloping this under-utilized property to maximize its land potential. After the expiration of two short-term leases, Milbank plans to add an expanded retail component to the property. 
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Purchased: 2005
Type: Shopping center
Size: 25,800 ft2
Number of Stories: 1

After Milbank’s acquisition of this property, Milbank successfully negotiated a long-term lease agreement with Brooks Fiber Communications (which was subsequently acquired by MCI WorldComm) in order to anchor the property. Milbank also constructed a telecommunication fiber optic switchboard on-site, and has continued to actively lease the building. Plans are in development for $1.5 million renovations to upgrade the building’s infrastructure.
Location: Bakersfield, California
Purchased: 1995
Type: Office building
Size: 62,600 ft2
Number of Stories: 7

Milbank first signed a ground lease for this commercial property, then negotiated an acquisition during the development phase. Milbank then designed and built this 12,000 square foot shopping center in Van Nuys, and subsequently fully leased the property to a variety of retail tenants, anchored by May Tag Coin Laundry. The property was profitably sold in 1992.
Location: Van Nuys, California
Purchased: 1989
Type: Shopping center
Size: 12,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 1

Located on the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Imperial Highway, this medical office building was purchased by Milbank in 1991. After acquisition, Milbank’s construction department performed extensive renovations and increased the building’s occupancy from a mere 20 percent, to more than 90 percent by the time the property was profitably sold in 2004.
Location: Hawthorne, California
Purchased: 1991
Type: Office building
Size: 40,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 6

Milbank purchased this distressed property located at the northwest corner of Florence Avenue and Alameda Street in Huntington Park, with an intent to aggressively lease the property to maximum occupancy. Anchored by Burger King, Milbank raised the occupancy level by 35 percent and sold the property in 2001, fully occupied. Milbank continues to serve as the property management company for the current owner.
Location: Huntington Park,
Purchased: 1998
Type: Shopping center
Size: 40,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 1

Milbank acquired this parcel of land located on the corner of St. Rose Parkway and Seven Hills Drive, then subdivided it to meet the community’s need for a local U.S. Post Office. Milbank had preliminary plans for developing the remaining parcel into a retail shopping center and commercial condominium park, but the parcels were sold in 2004 to the U.S. Postal Service and to another private developer.
Location: Henderson, Nevada
Purchased: 2003
Type: Development
Size: 16 acres

Milbank purchased this abandoned building, previously occupied by a Montgomery Wards department store, and spent more than $1 million renovating and converting it into a discount mall and banquet facility. Milbank has since raised the building’s occupancy to approximately 98 percent, and built a food court. Additional income was derived after regular business hours by renting the second floor as a banquet facility. The property was profitably sold in 2006.
Location: Bakersfield, California
Purchased: 2002
Type: Retail building
Size: 165,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 2

central plaza
Milbank acquired this distressed property, originally consisting of several parcels containing approximately 12 neglected and dilapidated apartments. Milbank then worked with the city to create a master parcel and entitle the property to enhance the community by providing housing and retail shopping. The new development calls for a mixed-use project consisting of 85 low-income housing units and 42,060 square feet of commercial retail space.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Purchased: 2002
Type: Retail shopping center under development
Size: 74,000 ft2 curruntly
Number of Stories: 4

Milbank acquired this vacant parcel of land and was responsible for the design, construction and development of a 58,000 square foot retail center with two stand-alone drive-through restaurants. Milbank has plans for future developments, including an additional  90,000 square feet of commercial space.  The retail portion of Sunrise Plaza was profitably sold in 2006.
Location: Lancaster, California
Purchased: 1984
Type: Retail shopping center
Size: 58,000 ft2
Number of Stories: 1