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WeWork CEO Adam Neumann and his wife, Rebekah Neumann, battled with contractors over bills related to the renovation of their $10.5 million Manhattan townhome.Between 2017 and 2018, four of the contractors ended up filing legal claims over alleged unpaid bills, and one even sued the couple — even as Neumann was cashing in on his WeWork stake to the tune of $700 million.Together, the contractors claimed the Neumanns owed them more than $1.1 million.The Neumanns appear to have settled at least two of the disputes in March, right as WeWork was preparing for a planned initial public offering.Read all of Business Insider's WeWork coverage here.In late 2013, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann and his wife made a splashy purchase befitting his rising status as a major player in the New York real estate market — a $10.5 million townhouse in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.The couple soon got to work remaking the property, hiring contractors for a $6.5 million project to extensively renovate it. Within a few years, though, the work on the Neumann's dream home became embroiled in bitter battles, with contractors complaining about unpaid bills.The disagreements got so bad that four different contractors collectively filed legal documents, or liens, charging that the Neumanns owed them money and staking a claim to the value of the townhome. All told, the contractors alleged the Neumanns owed them a combined $1.1 million.At least two of the disputes, involving more than $1 million of that amount, have either been settled or appear to have been. It's unclear what happened with the other two disputes.The attorney that represented the Neumanns in at least one of their legal battles with contractors did not return a call seeking comment. WeWork representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment.The contractor disputes occurred as Adam Neumann was cashing in on his WeWork stake to the tune of a reported $700 million through stock sales and taking out loans, using his shares in the company as collateral.The existence of the liens, which has not previously been reported, comes as questions around Neumann's character and judgement have unnerved investors and clouded WeWork's IPO prospects. Neumann's history of cashing out his WeWork shares as well as controversial transactions such as the company paying Neumann $6 million to buy the "We" brand from him, have become red flags to critics of WeWork, which at one point was valued by private investors at $47 billion.WeWork has since announced a series of governance changes, including curtailing some of Neumann's power and reimbursing the $6 million We deal, but it still ended up delaying its IPO earlier this week.The Neumanns wanted to transform their $10.5 million townhomeThe Neumanns' battles with contractors all revolved renovation work done to their townhome, a four-story edifice built in 1847, the purchase of which was big news in the New York real estate world at the time. The listing for the building, posted online prior to the sale to the couple, describes and shows an elegant home, with large sitting rooms, a glassed-in sun room, and a small patio in back.The Neumann's renovation plan called for combining the townhome's two units into one large one. Google Maps However grand the 5,186 square foot townhome may have been when they purchased it, the Neumanns decided to completely transform it. Their plan was to combine its two units into one jumbo-sized one, expand, the footprint of the building, and raise its height, according to a response the couple filed to a lawsuit over alleged unpaid bills. They also planned to replace a staircase, adding touches such as new fireplaces, and upgrade the electrical and plumbing systems, according to the court documents.The cost of all that work, which appears to have started in 2014, soon became the subject of some bitter battles. Four different contractors ended up taking legal action to try to compel the Neumanns to pay their alleged outstanding bills.The disputed amounts included:$659,818 allegedly owed to Iridium Development, which served as the general contractor on the renovation project, according to court records. Iridium filed a legal claim to the amount in April 2017 and a lawsuit two months later that wasn't resolved until this past March, at the same time that WeWork was gearing up for its IPO.$385,399.35 allegedly owed to Mimar Construction, which rebuilt the townhouse's roof, walls, and chimney, and did masonry and stucco work on the building, according to the New York County Clerk's office. Mimar filed a legal claim to the amount last November that was also resolved this March.$37,309.56 allegedly owed to Pinnacle Contracting, which provided concrete for the renovation project. Pinnacle made a claim to the amount in August 2017 but didn't renew that claim after it expired a year later.$2,893.16 allegedly owed to Cardella Trucking, which was hired by Iridium as a subcontractor on the renovation project to haul away and dispose of construction debris, according to a document filed with the county clerk's office. Cardella placed a claim on that amount in June 2017 and renewed it the following year.The liens were filed against the townhome, not the Neumanns by name. Iridium's lawsuit was filed against an entity called Residence 72 LLC. In 2016, the Neumanns transferred the deed and mortgage to Residence 72, according to New York City property records. The New York Secretary of State's office doesn't list an owner for Residence 72, but lists as its contact person a WeWork attorney. In its suit, Iridium alleged that Residence 72 was essentially the Neumanns by another name; the suit says that the Neumanns transferred money to Residence 72 for the renovation project.According to Iridium's lawsuit, the contract with the Neummans specified a budget of roughly $6.5 million for the renovation project.The Neumanns repeatedly changed the size, scope, and sequencing of the project, the contractor claimed in its suit. The plans they provided were also insufficient or defective, Iridium said in its legal complaint. Such factors increased the cost of the renovation project, it said.At some point, the Neumanns stopped reimbursing Iridium for its work, according to the lawsuit.The Neumanns countersued, via the Residence 72 entity, charging that Iridium performed "substandard work." As part of the construction work, the interior of the townhome was exposed to the elements and was damaged in the process, they said in their countersuit. The result was peeling and chipped paint in the house's entrance, unspecified damage to construction materials and other parts of the house. The Neumanns also charged that Iridium failed to complete some work, didn't follow their architect's plans, or did a poor job working on other areas.The contractors were sending the Neumanns a "message"In all four disputes, the contractors resorted to something called a mechanic's lien. In New York and some other states, contractors and construction companies that haven't been paid for the work they've done can file a lien, essentially a claim, against the property on which they've been working.The mere existence of a lien does not prove that a property owner has done anything wrong. It just means that a contractor is in a dispute of some sort with the property owner and is claiming to be owed something. But it allows the contractor to stake a claim to any value seen from selling the property. The lien can even be used to force a sale of the property to pay the outstanding debt, said Neal Eiseman, a construction law expert and a partner at Goetz Fitzpatrick in New York.Filing a lien sends a "message" to the property owner, Eiseman said.Contractors typically use the liens as a way to pressure property owners to pay outstanding bills, he said. Mortgages often have clauses in them that forbid owners from having any outstanding mechanic's liens on the property, he said.Read this: There are 6 billion very good reasons for WeWork to go public this year, even though Wall Street doesn't want itIt's not uncommon for construction work to lead to disputes over bills and to contractors filing mechanic's liens over unpaid bills, especially in high-end residential construction, he said."People are demanding, as they have a right to be," he said.Even so, most disputes that lead to liens or even lawsuits end in settlements, he said.That appears to be the outcome with the two biggest contractor disputes the Neumanns were involved in over their townhome project.Iridium and the Neumanns both agreed to dismiss a lawsuit and countersuit over their disputed amount, presumably because they settled out of court. Court records don't indicate if or how much money changed hands between the two.Meanwhile, Mimar owner Ambel Durdia told Business Insider his company had reached a settlement with the Neumanns over their alleged unpaid bill. He said he couldn't discuss the details of the dispute or the settlement."We make a settlement," he said. "I'm very happy with" Neumann.It's unclear what happened with the other two disputed contractor bills.A representative for Iridium declined to comment. Representatives of Pinnacle and Cardella did not return calls or email seeking comment.Got a tip about WeWork or another company? Contact this reporter via email at email@example.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
Jose Mourinho has dismissed speculations claiming he could replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid manager.Madrid have drawn two of their opening four LaLiga matches this season and were crushed 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.Not only did Zidane’s men perform badly against PSG, they failed to record a shot on target.However, former Madrid boss, Mourinho, does not believe the situation is as bad as it seems, with Los Blancos sitting third, just two points off early leaders Sevilla.“They’re third or fourth, no? Close to being first.“It’s not bad. If you look at it pragmatically, if you focus on the table, they’re right there. Now, they play Sevilla and if they win, they go ahead of them. Barcelona are behind them and Atletico are a point ahead,” Mourinho told Deportes Cuatro.The Portuguese has further rubbished reports he is being lined up to replace Zidane as head coach, insisting he hopes the Frenchman can go on to have a successful season in the Spanish capital.“There are two types of rumours. One, when one speaks about Zidane, who is one of ours and it hurts us when our teams aren’t going well. You have to live with it.“Zidane is in football all his life and he knows it. The other type of rumour is to put my name in there, and I don’t like that. There are problems in many places, but another thing is respect.“I wouldn’t like to return because they have a manager and I can’t coach a team who have a manager. You can speak with respect about the club but also about the manager who isn’t just anyone. I am out of it. I’m not just blowing smoke. I would like that things turn out well and everything gets fixed.“Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico, Manchester United and Chelsea – when you have massive expectations, it’s difficult and tough. And for this, they say there are good players and managers who aren’t giving everything, because it takes more than just talent, you also have to have a certain special personality,” he added.
Pep Guardiola has backed Riyad Mahrez to be a key man for Manchester City after the Algeria winger’s vibrant start to the season.With Leroy Sane out for at least five months as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Mahrez will have plenty of chances to make his mark this season.He did that on Wednesday in the Champions League, scoring one and creating another as City strolled to a 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.The Algerian struggled at City last season following his £60 million move from Leicester.But now Guardiola believes the 28-year-old can become a major part of his plans as he adapts to City’s unique style.“Riyad played well last season apart from the first few games,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.“He took a bit of time to adapt as it was different from Leicester where he was used to playing on the counter-attack, but that is normal.“But he loves to play football and he loves training. He just wants to be in the contact with the ball. I like that.“He doesn’t feel too much pressure and he has a lot of confidence in himself.“If he has a bad action, he wants the ball back to try again. That is the best detail for players in big clubs.“He is quality, but the only thing is he just needs to be more relaxed when he does not play.”While Mahrez was impressing in Kharkiv, Gabriel Jesus also caught the eye with a goal in just his second start of the season.The Brazilian striker has had to play second fiddle to Sergio Aguero since he came to England in January 2017, but Guardiola says he is the perfect understudy to the Argentine.– Incredible future –“It’s difficult to find a striker like Gabriel in Europe or the world. He is a top player and his behaviour in training sessions is outstanding,” Guardiola said.“He has to handle being behind Aguero, a legend in this club and one of the best strikers I have ever worked with, so my praise for Gabriel is over the moon.“He needs to be patient but when he plays, he does absolutely everything in the way he fights and the way he tries. He is a young forward and his future is incredible.”Fernandinho appears certain to retain his place for the Premier League game at home to Watford on Saturday as an emergency centre-half, having stepped in alongside Nicolas Otamendi to replace the injured John Stones in Ukraine on Wednesday.Stones faces another month out and Aymeric Laporte is sidelined until the new year, so Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho will be needed in defence for the foreseeable future.With Vincent Kompany joining Anderlecht in the close-season, it leaves teenagers Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis as the only other alternatives to Fernandinho as a centre-half.However, Guardiola is trying to turn the difficult situation into a positive.“We don’t have many options. But I don’t see it as a problem, it’s a challenge,” he said.“We have to accept it and handle it. You have to be positive. If we do that, we’ll be happy.”VANGUARD
ADVERTISEMENTMusic legend, Innocent Idibia aka 2baba paid a surprise visit to the housemates of the ongoing BBNaija season four.News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that, on Thursday night, the ‘African Queen’ singer stormed the house with Larry Gaaga and Efe Omoregbe.ADVERTISEMENTThe housemates, who did not see the surprise coming, got to celebrate 2baba’s birthday with him as Biggie set up the party in the arena, complete with food and musical performances.ADVERTISEMENT NOMINATE AFRICAN OF THE YEAR 2019Prior to the party, housemates took turns to ask the legend questions about the industry and success tips that every celebrity should have.He said, “Keep your head straight. Respect people, respect your craft. Develop yourself. There is no limit to what you can do.”Frodd asked how he kept calm despite the pressure before a performance. He said, “You have to keep your game face on. You have to block it out. You have to go out and satisfy your fans.”To celebrate his birthday, he was welcomed into the beautifully set up Arena, where the Housemates chorused a happy birthday song for him and cut the cake.The housemates also had karaoke games with Seyi, Tacha, Omashola and Cindy creating funny moments.Larry Gaaga and 2Baba took the lead in dancing as they grooved hard to their classic songs, while Mike showcased his Zanku skills.NAN reports that the party also features performances from Okeimute, Kholi and a band, Alternate Sound.To wrap it up, 2Baba introduced his new product to the lucky Pepper Dem top ten as he talked to them about launching his branded headphones. (NAN)RelatedOVER 5,000 NIGERIAN MEN HAVE OVERCOME POOR BEDROOM PERFORMANCE SYNDROME DUE TO THIS BRILLIANT DISCOVERYDownload Daily Trust News App
By Michael EbohThe Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, today, insisted that the Federal Government would sell down its stakes in joint venture oil and gas assets it co-owned with international oil companies.In a statement sent on his behalf by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Sylva disclosed that the country’s equity stake in the joint venture assets would be reduced to 40 per cent.Sylva, who was speaking at the commencement of a two-day strategic retreat of the Honourable Minister for Directors of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Heads of Agencies under his purview, this was a priority area of the Ministry under this dispensation, while he urged agencies and departments under the ministry to work along this line.He listed other priority areas to include curbing petroleum products cross border leakages, completion of gas flare commercialisation, increasing crude oil production to three million barrels per day and effecting a reduction in the cost of crude oil production by at least five per cent.Also read:The rest, he said are aggressive promotion of passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); promotion of inland basin exploration activities; promotion of deep offshore exploration activities; collaboration with private sector to aggressively increase domestic refining capacity and working assiduously to support the president in his poise to achieving his target of raising millions of Nigerians out of poverty via job creation.The minister told heads of the agencies that at end of the retreat they would be required to collectively sign an undertaking to deliver on the set tasks and targets, saying they must execute the mandate with all the seriousness it deserves.Also speaking, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, expressed the readiness of corporation to align with the spirit and letter behind the key priorities areas, stressing that as the main enabler of the Nigerian economy, NNPC would work with other agencies of the ministry to make the outlined aspirations a dream come true.He noted that the coming of Sylva promised to engender high-level Inter-agencies collaboration across all tiers of the sector.Vanguard
The sun is setting on India’s first attempted lunar landing. As night fell over the lunar south pole on September 20, scientists’ hopes that the solar-powered Vikram lander would contact Earth before the end of one lunar day have been dashed.Officials at the Indian space agency ISRO reportedly believe that the Vikram lander died on impact with the lunar surface on September 6. The probe lost contact shortly before it was meant to touch down near the moon’s south pole (SN: 9/6/19), according to the Times of India.Still, there was hope that Vikram or its onboard rover would perk up and reestablish contact. ISRO spent two weeks — the equivalent of one lunar day — trying to communicate with Vikram. The lander and its rover, Pragyan, were designed to last one lunar day before the lack of sunlight and cold temperatures shut them down.ISRO said that its Chandrayaan 2 orbiter took pictures on September 10 showing the lander lying flat or tilted on its side. Those images, however, were not publicly released.NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter also flew over the landing site on September 17. But “lunar local time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area,” the space agency said in an e-mail. “The exact location of the lander was not known, so the lander may not be in the camera field of view.” NASA said that it would search again on October 14, when the sun is higher in the lunar sky.After the sun completely sets on Vikram’s landing site, temperatures there will drop to about –180° Celsius for another two weeks. The solar-powered lander’s electronics are not expected to survive the frigid night.ISRO has yet to put out an official statement. But the Times of India reported on September 20 that the team analyzing the mission’s failure believes that it was caused by an error in the spacecraft’s automatic landing program. The newspaper quoted an unnamed scientist as saying that the lander may have started spinning on its way to the lunar surface so that thrusters meant to slow the descent instead accelerated it.
Olympic judo champion Rafaela Silva of Brazil says she failed a doping test at the recent Pan American Games in Lima.The 27-year-old told a news conference on Friday she tested positive for fenoterol, a drug used to treat asthma.The judoka insisted she was innocent and blamed the positive test on having had frequent contact with a 7-month-old baby who suffers from asthma.Silva became the first Brazilian to win gold at her home Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.She also won the Pan American title in the same 57-kilogram category in August.Silva's attorney Bichara Neto said the judoka will not be suspended or lose her Pan American Games title before organisers hear her defence.The Brazilian is one of the favourites to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics next year.ts
The billionaire Oracle cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison reportedly called WeWork "almost worthless" in a scathing indictment of the embattled office-coworking company.He made the statement during a meeting with entrepreneurs on Wednesday at his home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco attended by Barron's."WeWork rents a building from me, and breaks it up, and then rents it," Ellison said, according to Barron's. "They say, 'We're a technology company, and we want a tech multiple.' It's bizarre."WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWorkEllison's statements came amid weeks of news stories battering WeWork as the company attempts to go public.The company was privately valued at $47 billion when it filed an S-1 in mid-August for an initial public offering. One month later, WeWork's parent company was said to have been mulling going public at a valuation of $10 billion to $12 billion.It has paused its IPO — it was originally supposed to go public this month but is now said to be aiming for the end of the year.The story of what happened is complex and ongoing, but one particular thread stands out from the past month of WeWork news: CEO Adam Neumann's repeated self-dealing while leading the company.Read more: Former Twitter CEO calls out WeWork CEO Adam Neumann amid the company's IPO fiasco: 'This is not the way everybody behaves'The company's S-1 revealed that Neumann owned several properties that WeWork leased from him and that he sold the rights to the word "We" to WeWork for nearly $6 million. He has since given back the money for the naming rights and committed to giving his profits from the related real-estate deals back to the company.WeWork and Neumann have received plenty of criticism in the past month, including from Scott Galloway, the New York University Stern School of Business professor, bestselling author, and tech-industry pundit, who deemed the company "WeWTF" after it filed its S-1.Neumann at the Nasdaq's opening bell. Associated PressFormer Twitter CEO Dick Costolo piled on this week as well."This is not the way everybody behaves," Costolo told The Wall Street Journal in a profile of Neumann. "The degree of self-dealing in the S-1 is so egregious, and it comes at a time when you've got regulators and politicians and folks across the country looking out at Silicon Valley and wondering if there's the appropriate level of self-awareness."A WeWork representative declined to respond to Ellison's criticisms.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have marched in cities across Egypt to demand the resignation of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.Videos posted on social media showed demonstrators chanting “rise up, fear not, Sisi must go” and “the people demand the regime’s fall” late on Friday.Protests were reported in the capital Cairo, the second-biggest city of Alexandria and Suez, according to Aljazeera report.Officers in civilian uniforms confronted the demonstrators who tried approaching Tahrir Square in Cairo. Several arrests were also made in the capital, and there were reports of tear gas being used on demonstrators.The demonstrations came after self-exiled Egyptian businessman and actor Mohamed Ali accused President el-Sisi of corruption and called on people to take to the streets and demand the leader be removed. el-Sisi has dismissed the allegations as “lies”.“If el-Sisi does not announce his resignation by Thursday, then the Egyptian people will come out to the squares on Friday in protest,” Ali said in a video posted on Tuesday.Vanguard Nigerian News.
Emiliano Martinez was handed his first start of the season by Unai Emery on Thursday as Arsenal brushed aside Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in the Europa League.The 27-year-old, who has made just 14 senior appearances in his seven-year stint in north London, caught the eye with a series of impressive saves against the Bundesliga side.His performance left many fans talking, with Gunners supporter @PatrickTimmons1 sharing an appreciation post on Martinez on social media shortly after the win.And these Arsenal fans were quick to share their positive thoughts on the Argentine, with some calling for Emery to hand him game time in the Premier League over Bernd Leno.Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 Looks better and more confident than Leno imo (@ogumba_)Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 Honestly looks like he owns his box more than Leno (@ty4kt)Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 Completely agree with you. Honestly think he is ready for some games in the league (@Afc_zettes)Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 Hope he gets to start in the PL too. He was very impressive in his loan spell as well last season.… https://t.co/qiLutXBRi0 (@vinayak205)Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 He could really push Leno this season (@AbubakerMansoo3)Twitter: @PatrickTimmons1 We got the best backup goalkeeper in the world no cap (@Mk27_COYG)Read Arsenal verdictMartinez has been with the Gunners for seven years, and after six loan spells, he now appears to be ready to seriously challenge for the number one spot at the Emirates.His distribution and commanding of the box were two aspects of his game picked out for praise by many, along with his impressive shot-stopping ability.More solid displays like the one in Germany will only strengthen his case to become Emery’s first-choice, and if Arsenal can enjoy successful runs in the Carabao Cup and Europa League over the coming months, Martinez will be handed more opportunities to showcase his talents to the Spaniard.If he can continue his imperious form, then who knows, Emery may well decide to hand Martinez a chance in the Premier League over current number one Leno.Could Martinez become Emery's first-choice 'keeper?