Saturday, July 18, 2015

'Homeless' Real Estate Developer: 'I Paid $2.2M For Living Space In Landmark Upper West Side Building 16 Years Ago & I Still Can't Move In Because Co-Op Board Keeps Changing The Rules On Me!'

In (guess where???), the New York Post reports:
  • He bought the Manhattan apartment space for more than $2 million in 1999 — and is still waiting to move in!

    Prominent real estate developer Robert Siegel says he’s been blocked from occupying his would-be new home — the former ballroom at the famed Dakota building — for 16 years because its co-op board has been using half of it for tenant storage.

    Siegel, 54, claims in a new $55 million lawsuit that he purchased the space for $2.2 million after the board promised he’d be able to convert it into four bedrooms and install an air-conditioning system.

    A year later, the board told him that they’d only approve his proposed plans if he coughed up another $1.8 million to buy additional shares of cooperative stock, on top of paying $1.1 million in additional maintenance fees, the Manhattan Supreme Court papers say.

    Siegel said he paid the extra dough — but the board of the tony West 72nd Street complex, where John Lennon lived and was fatally shot, changed the rules on him again.

    He says in his suit that they “secretly” amended its certificate of occupancy to “change the legal use of one-half of the apartment to non-habitable storage space.”

    “That is a beautiful space, with high ceilings,” said broker Dolly Lenz. “Today, it would be worth $40 million, if not more. It is my favorite building in the city.’’

    Siegel, a dad of four, notes in his suit — filed by lawyers Steven Sladkus and Jay Goldberg — that he and his family have bounced from place to place and have never spent a single night in the iconic building.

    “The Siegel children . . . have never known one apartment as their home, despite Mr. Siegel’s ownership of the apartment for the past 16 years,” the suit says.

    Siegel is suing the board for fraud, breach of contract, constructive eviction and other related causes of action. Sladkus and Goldberg, as well as a lawyer for the Dakota, declined comment.

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