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Judge dismisses lawsuit over GM Building in NY

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge dismissed a lawsuit against Conseco Inc insurance and finance company over allegations of fraud in the $1.4 billion sale at auction in 2003 of the General Motors Building in New York.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court in August 2006 by real estate owner Sheldon Solow who said he had submitted the best and highest bid, but Conseco and its unit Carmel Fifth LLC, never intended to sell it to anyone but real estate owner Harry Macklowe.

Solow's spokesman Michael Gross declined to comment immediately on Tuesday's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones, which was made public on Wednesday.

The ruling agreed with the company's argument that it was not the "Old Conseco" that had filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Conseco had its reorganization plan approved in September 2003 when it emerged as a separate "New Conseco" entity.

The sale of the GM Building, one of the swankiest in Manhattan, was completed by August 28, 2003 and before the existence of "New Conseco," according to court papers.

"Defendants argue that Solow does not have independent claims against New Conseco because he has not alleged any misconduct of fraud after September 9, 2003. The Court agrees," Jones's ruling said in part.

Solow had alleged that the bidding tied up hundreds of millions of dollars that he could have used for other deals. He sued for $35 million, the amount Conseco received above Macklowe's prior bid, damages and for the sale to Macklowe to be voided.

In June last year, Boston Properties Inc acquired the General Motors Building from Macklowe Properties for about $2.8 billion.

The case is Sheldon H. Solow v Conseco Inc & Carmel Fifth LLC, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 06-5988.

(Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Richard Chang)

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