NYC Prep School Debt Boom Leaves Italian Academy in Crisis

Nov 20, 2018 1369

BY: Martin Z. Braun

Steve Acunto, the chairman of La Scuola d’Italia, a bilingual English-Italian private school in Manhattan, stood on a dais at its annual gala in March 2016 and pointed to an 8-foot model of the school’s new 11-story home near Columbus Circle. The building on West 58th Street would have a nursery school, theater, gymnasium, specialized science facilities and enough space for 680 students, more than twice its enrollment at the time. “We’re going to become the absolute best institution of its type in the world," Acunto told a reporter.

Less than two years later, La Scuola d’Italia defaulted on the $80 million of debt it took out to purchase and renovate the building and handed over the keys to Rosemawr Management LLC, a municipal bond investment firm that lent the school the money. The school then sued the investment bank and law firm that worked on the bond issue for fraud -- setting off a legal battle that’s continuing in New York Supreme Court over who’s to blame.

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