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Condo Board Sues: Your Renter Pleaded Guilty to Prostitution — Why No Eviction?

Frank Lovece in Board Operations on March 9, 2012

The Sheffield 57, 322 W. 57th Street, Midtown

Condo Lawsuit Male Prostitution No Eviction

Rentboy.com promotional image for "Dave Bruno"

March 9, 2012

A resident became aware of the

male prostitution through a friend

whose husband had been a client.

The NYPD charged that Greving solicited clients there under the pseudonym Dave Bruno. According to The Real Deal, his site profile, still active as of at least yesterday (March 8), lists The Sheffield's ZIP code and advertises sexual services at fees ranging from $325 to $1,700. Police received another complaint in December that Greving's prostitution business was still active.

The board's lawsuit seek injunctions to stop the alleged hanky-panky-for-pay and to order the owners to begin eviction proceedings, which they have not done during the intervening months. While the bylaws, like virtually all such documents, prohibit illegal activity in apartments, it remained unclear whether this could be enforced against a single misdemeanor count. Problematically as well, the bylaws forbid "immoral, improper" and "offensive" use — which can be open to extremely subjective interpretation and, in terms of even enforcement, create a slippery slope for other residents.

Cova is a partner in the corporate department at the Milan office of the international law firm Paul Hastings LLP. Before joining the firm, he was the chief legal adviser to the commissioner appointed by the Italian government to investigate financial fraud behind Europe's biggest bankruptcy, that of the food giant Parmalat SpA. According to his Paul Hastings biography, he has been involved in many of Italy's largest mergers and acquisitions of the last several years, including several international transactions. He did not respond to Habitat e-mails requesting comment on the lawsuit.

The condo board's suit says Cova and his wife, who bought the 33rd-floor apartment for over $1.3 million in October 2008, leased the unit to Greving and another man, David Klopp, for $3,150 a month beginning May 15, 2011. A rider to the lease states the renters are subject to the condominium declaration and to its bylaws.

Rose Associates, the building's managing agent, learned of the situation through a resident's anonymous letter, which said the writer had become aware of Greving's alleged business through a friend whose husband had been a client. The letter-writer said  prostitution lowered the building's standards and presented a security danger to other residents.

A Habitat call to Rose Associates for comment, and to inquire as to what if anything it had instructed the front desk to do in regards to visitors to Greving's apartment, was not returned. The board's attorney, Rob Braverman, a partner at Braverman & Associates, said in a statement, "Since first learning of the situation, the condominium has been enforcing all of its rights and remedies in this case. We are pursuing all available legal avenues to put an immediate end to the situation."

A man identifying himself as Stephan Greving at the Upper West Side's Stephan Greving Studio Photography, incorporated as Stephan L. Greving, LLC, told Habitat he was not the Stephan Greving involved in The Sheffield case.

The pseudonym "Dave Bruno" appears to combine the names of David Klopp and Bruno Cova, possibly for reasons of identity misdirection.

 

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