From the Daily News:
Sixteen store owners at a foreclosed Queens mall will leave within weeks - threatening the future of the Shops at Atlas Park - unless banks that mortgaged the complex renegotiate their rents, the tenants' attorney said.
The disgruntled mix of eateries, clothing stores and other mom-and-pop ventures also wants the banks - which control changes to leases at the Glendale center - to hash out a plan for months of unpaid back rent.
"These rents are even too high for Manhattan," charged lawyer Boris Sorin, who began representing the tenants in February after mall founder Damon Hemmerdinger defaulted on a loan to two French financial giants.
If the store owners abandon Atlas Park, the mass exodus would leave the Cooper Ave. complex with about two dozen remaining shops and a ghost-town feel as it struggles to stay relevant in the borough's retail scene.
Dance & Beyond
Ibiza Sun Club
My Heavenly Scent
Crazy for Animals
Dresses & Denim
Park Place Florist
Also from the Daily News:
A French bank with a major stake in the Shops at Atlas Park has been dogged by a probe into improper use of AIG bailout cash and an insider trading scandal that downed a top executive.
Insiders figure the recent woes at Société Générale - which mortgaged the Glendale mall with another bank, Calyon, before the pair foreclosed on the complex this year - are just minor setbacks for the financial giant.
But those negative headlines may add another obstacle to management's pitch for new shopkeepers to invest in Atlas Park - and for existing tenants to stick around - despite the foreclosure and a dreary economic outlook.
In March, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo expanded an investigation into embattled insurance giant AIG to check if banks like Société Générale improperly received billions of dollars in government bailout money.
The probe centers on whether AIG pumped funds intended to wind down complicated credit default swaps - contracts which were blamed for its downfall - to the banks instead, said an attorney general spokeswoman.
But Société Générale's troubles don't end there. Earlier this month, senior executive Jean-Pierre Mustier stepped down after 22 years at the bank, amid an insider trading inquiry by French finance officials.