A Roosevelt Island Daily Exclusive: Charges Fly In Both Directions

Sanctuary Owners Embroiled in Lawsuits After Coffeed Ouster...with a Roosevelt Island Twist

Updated 5 weeks ago David Stone
The old Dayspring Church with extensive renovations underway in August.
The old Dayspring Church with extensive renovations underway in August.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Frank Raffaele and Gene Sky co-founded and grew Coffeed. They, along with Alfonso Biondi, are partners in The Glow, owners of The Sanctuary, event space and a planned speakeasy in an historic church on Roosevelt Island. Angry allegations of financial improprieties and worse by and against the trio flared into heated lawsuits sparked by the Coffeed co-founders May ouster from the company they built and grew.

Disclaimer: The Roosevelt Island Daily cannot verify or discount any of the charges in the lawsuits referenced below. The facts presented are from public filings in New York State Supreme Court: INDEX NO. 157390/2019 and  INDEX NO. 160287/2019.

The Sanctuary: Event Space or Home Sweet Home?

"You might want to look into the operators," an anonymous informant, identified only as "Interested Party," wrote in an email. The subject line was our recent article, The Sanctuary, Responsibility Free on Roosevelt Island.

Interested Parties provided Supreme Court index numbers along with brief descriptions. The information was correct, as far as it went.

Fiery accusations fly in both directions as Raffaele, Sky and Biondi battle the Coffeed Corporation, its executive chairman Sahba Salimi and chief executive officer David Barbag.

The Roosevelt Island twist...

In late September, as he and Raffaele produced their first event at The Sanctuary, Biondi filed for personal bankruptcy.

In the bankruptcy filing, Biondi lists his residence as 851 Main Street, i.e., The Sanctuary on Roosevelt Island.

Dueling Lawsuits

The initial complaint phase in civil lawsuits is typically home to the most extreme allegations and very little in the way of proof.

For that reason and because the allegations are extreme, personal and scurrilous, The Daily will not repeat them here.

Millions of dollars in damages are being sought, and accusations contained in both lawsuits, aimed at everyone involved, if true, could result in criminal as well as civil charges.

Need more information? Let the lawsuits speak for themselves.

To read the complaints, sign up for the Unified Court System online and search the index numbers listed above.

(Firefox is the recommended browser for researching the court system.)

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