It has been over three years since a real estate development consultant accused former business partner Jody Kriss of utilizing mob tactics to put his life in danger. Last week, developer turned Mob informant Sal Lauria withdrew a $5 million lawsuit against Kriss, stating that he wished to move on with his life and distance himself from the scrutiny brought on by connections with President Donald Trump.
Salvatore Lauria, who worked for the Bayrock Group several years ago, sued East River Partners principal Jody Kriss for allegedly putting his life in harm’s way with persistent legal suits against Bayrock themselves. Bayrock Group worked on several Trump-branded developments, including the Trump International in Fort Lauderdale and the Trump SoHo in New York City.
In the lawsuit, Jody Kriss was accused of illegally handing over sealed government files to a lawyer representing mob members who Lauria assisted with putting behind bars. Allegedly, this led to a Mafia member assaulting Lauria in the middle of the day at a restaurant in Brooklyn. According to the lawsuit, the Mafia member then threatened Lauria’s life.
Regardless of these accusations against Jody Kriss, Lauria did not actively pursue this case in court. In March 2016, Erika Edwards, Supreme Court Judge for the state of New York, requested Lauria to respond to discovery requests by April 3, and then to appear for a deposition the following month. On the deadline day, Lauria changed attorneys, filing for extensions on both the deposition and discovery requests.
In an affidavit, Lauria told the courts that he did not wish to further pursue the suit, as the pain Jody Kriss had caused had faded. Salvatore Lauria added that he felt vindicated, as two frivolous lawsuits Jody Kriss had filed against him and hundreds of others (including President Donald Trump) had been dismissed from the courts with prejudice.
“When this action was commenced in 2014, the physical and emotional pain that I was feeling due to the actions of Mr. Kriss was fresher in my mind, and my desire to hold him accountable was stronger than it is now,” Lauria wrote. “My desire to hold him accountable is no longer strong enough to justify the continuing expense and other problems… that continued litigation would entail.”
Lauria also stated that he wished to distance himself from media scrutiny that was amplified by the election of Donald Trump.
Jody Kriss denied Lauria’s claims, stating that the lawsuit’s purpose was only to further damage his spotted reputation, which includes involvement in billion dollar legal suits, a case of child endangerment, unlawful tenant eviction, and potential involvement in a real estate scam led by former NBA star Tate George. Kriss has been accused on multiple occasions of using his affiliations to President Donald Trump to persuade sales and potentially commit fraud.
There have even been allegations of Kriss having connections to the Russian Mafia, and funneling Mafia money through East River Partners to use in real estate transactions. As written in Georgia Today in June 2016:
Kriss’ current financial backing must come from other sources, which, in turn, poses the question that journalists and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and other countries are trying to answer.