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Hell hath no fury like a co-op board president scorned.
Upset that the sellers of a sprawling penthouse apartment with eye-popping panoramic views spurned her lowball offer, 1107 Fifth Ave. board president Maureen Klinsky has set out to sabotage their $27.5 million deal with someone else, court papers say.
Klinsky abruptly decided that the full-floor apartment’s prime selling point — a private wraparound terrace with city and Central Park views — can be used by everyone in the building to get onto a newly proposed roof deck.
The estate of Monique Uzielli says that’s not fair and that’s not legal — her lease held that the terrace and the roof were private.
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the estate noted that the board’s moves came after it turned down Klinsky’s $21 million offer on the apartment they had on the market for $29.5 million.
“The timing is no mere coincidence. Rather, Klinsky, aided and abetted by other board members . . . is abusing her authority as the president of the board to prevent the sale from closing so she can purchase the penthouse for an amount substantially below market value, or damage the estate for rejecting her offers,” the suit says.
The estate wants $5 million in damages — and a court order declaring that the terrace is private.
While Uzielli’s 4,180-square-foot, 10-room apartment is spectacular, the terrace is the crown jewel — at 4,870 square feet, it’s larger than the interior living space and one of the largest in the city, the suit says.
While the board approved the sale to the unidentified buyer in April, it then tried to revoke their approval unless both the buyer and the estate signed a deal making the roof into “a common area accessible to all residents.”
It’s also refused to hand over documents the estate needs to proceed with the closing, the suit says — leaving the sellers worried the deal will fall apart. A hearing on the balcony brouhaha is scheduled for Oct. 4. Klinsky declined to comment through her doorman.
The apartment she currently lives in with her financier husband and their four kids is hardly chopped pâté.
The 4,200-square-foot home is directly below Uzielli’s and was once joined with it as part of a triplex that once belonged to General Foods founder Marjorie Merriweather Post, then the richest woman in the country.
Uzielli, a Swiss art collector, moved in in 1958 and lived there for most of her life until she passed away last year at 98.
The Klinskys bought their apartment in 2003 for $8.5 million and hired designer Eric Clough to renovate it. Without telling his clients, Clough hid a series of mystery messages, games and puzzles in the panels, walls and furniture.
Read the daily news piece. Plaintiff's are free to allege anything. The truth is up to a judge and/or jury to decide. And highly doubt the President soley decided on her own as their are other board members. Also as a non-arms length purchase by a board member its doubtful someone would be so brazen, but I guess anything is possible, but should that be the case the business judgment rule might not protect the president. This article could equally apply to Condos, so I'm not sure what the point is..
RS: This could not equally apply to condos. The condo board is not nearly as free to change the rules under which condo buyers purchased.
Of course, there are two sides to every story but this does sound like an egregious ethical violation. Whether or not it is true in this case, Board President's can most certainly pressure board members. In my last co op, the Board president bullied the other board members. He was a lawyer and the co op was small and he literally pressured people and he lied to govt officials and when members questioned his judgement, he literally screamed at him. So yes, this is entirely believable. But again, all the facts are not in on this case yet.
It seems that in this case, a roof deck would make everyone's apt more valuable. But under no condition, should the board just claim some kind of eminent domain right and confiscate the terrace. If there is a small piece of the terrace that could be used for access to roof and still protect the privacy and sanctity of the terrace, then the board should pay for the rights to build access to roof.
The complaint and exhibits are on eCourts, index 653392/2012.
The Google maps aerial view shows the staircase from the penthouse terrace up to the penthouse roof.
The seller rejected two lowball offers from the board president, and accepted an offer of $27.5M from somebody who lives at 181 E 65th. (Other buyer details were redacted.)
The board approved the $27.5M sale. No explanation why the board would do that if it wanted to further the board president's interests.
What kind of hidden messages, games, and puzzles?
Wow...this Klinsky Kharacter sounds very much like another infamous, now deceased Brooklyn born real estate "legend", who, under similar circumstances, would explode, unleashing a fury always just simmering beneath the surface.
Unfortunately this is an archtype all too prevalent in the Manhattan co-op universe especially on the upper east side.
Like the old riddle goes, & there's absolutely no getting around it:
Q: What are ****** & obnoxious?
Perhaps if she cries to the estate they'll entertain her offer.
>Of course, there are two sides to every story but this does sound like an egregious ethical violation.
Says apt23, who called the police to say that her husband bought an illegal gun and was going to use it or menance their neighbor ... when in fact he was planning on doing no such thing and had no such gun.
When I hear stories like this, renting starts sounding better all the time.
It sounds worse than kids fighting at the playground or schoolyard.
NWT: That's correct, no explanation because there is none to support.
Stay away from the playground after school.
Here's today's transcript of the lawyers explaining the mess to a judge: https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fbem/DocumentDisplayServlet?documentId=a50onlpGA0qp5JUxWLHjdg==&system=prod
The main issue now is the terrace itself, not access from the terrace to the PH roof.
wow, the judge sounds like a dick.
i can't wait until they come back to court and say that you can only put something that is 1 inch thick because of complications and that there is not way to raise the balluster...
That judge sounds horrible
Matthew, what makes you an expert negotiator?