NBA legend and nascent developer Magic Johnson has engendered even more criticism and controversy for his ongoing renovation of the Mason Mints Factory building in Brooklyn Heights, as the Daily News reports, and now things are turning litigious.
Mr. Johnson and his Canyon Johnson Urban Funds have already been the focus of much criticism from labor unions over the involvement of a construction company named Leviathan in the condo renovation project at the former candy factory located at 20 Henry Street in the Heights. In January, Heights City Councilman Steve Levin called out Mr. Johnson and his group by name, accusing Leviathan of a very spotty safety record and questioning Canyon Johnson Urban Find’s commitment to worker safety on the project.
Now it appears that labor unions are alleging that Leviathan is not even a legitimate company. In a suit filed in Westchester County Bankruptcy Court, the Mason Tenders District Council and Metallic Lathers Local 46 are claiming that Leviathan is dummy corporation set up by a company called HRH Construction that allowed HRH to avoid using union labor and assuming the costs of union fees and benefits. In an ironic twist, they are pursuing the company under RICO laws, the same sort that weakened the mob-connected unions in the 1980s and ’90s.
Whether or not Mr. Johnson was personally involved in any decisions to use Leviathan in the project is unclear at this point but it is now fair to assume that the man known as Magic to Lakers fans is regretting his New York business involvement like a Knick might.