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At Last, a Way to Silence a Noisy Neighbor

Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Screaming Lawyer
Dec. 28, 2017

Noise complaints are every co-op and condo board’s worst nightmare. Now a Brooklyn judge has come up with an unprecedented solution to this intractable problem: turn the noise-maker’s apartment into a soundproof box.

Andrea Coleman, a divorce lawyer, has a long history of irking her neighbors and the board at the Richard Meier-designed luxury condo tower facing Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, the New York Post reports. From early morning till late at night, Coleman has blasted classical music and shrieked such startling things as “Obama is a murderer!” and “Rape!” and “Killing myself!” The condo board took Coleman to court, and she was ordered to keep quiet. When she ignored the court order, she was fined $31,000. 

Enter Justice Edgar Walker of Brooklyn Supreme Court, who has agreed to drop the fine if Coleman allows the board’s acoustical engineer to soundproof her fifth-floor apartment. “Very unusual,” is how the condo board’ president, Dennis Sughrue, also a lawyer, described the ruling. “But it’s a testament to just how crazy she is.” 

If Coleman resists the ruling, Justice Walker granted the condo board the extraordinary permission to install the soundproofing “by forcible entry.” The ruling is music to the ear’s of Coleman’s next-door neighbor, Craig Spolsky. “The screaming and yelling begin as early as 6:30 a.m. and recurs throughout the day and often as late as midnight,” Spolsky said in an affidavit. “Her voice can be clearly heard from inside my apartment. She uses words like ‘murder,’ ‘rape,’ ‘killing’ and ‘killing myself,’ and has apparently even mentioned my name in the same breath as these threatening words.”

Did residents call the cops? They did. But the cops said they couldn’t do anything unless they could see that Coleman was in danger of harming herself or others, according to Spolsky.

At a court hearing in January 2017, Coleman claimed her neighbors have provoked her behavior. She said they want her out because her unit is in foreclosure.

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