New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine June 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

LEGAL/FINANCIAL

HOW LEGAL/FINANCIAL PROBLEMS ARE SOLVED BY NYC CO-OPS AND CONDOS

Judge Tells Madonna to Lay Off Her Co-op Board

Upper West Side, Manhattan

Madonna Lawsuit

Harperley Hall on the Upper West Side, home of Madonna (image via Google Maps).

July 3, 2018

Co-op boards wield significant power, even over pop superstars. Just ask Madonna

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits says the Material Girl was “merely harassing” fellow shareholders of her Upper West Side co-op for continuing to seek records from the board after she lost a legal bid challenging a rule that required her to be physically present in her $7.3 million pad when any of her family or staff are there, the New York Post reports. Madonna was seeking access to board records, including voting information and annual meeting minutes, so she can determine “how her lease was changed” and “how her family may use Unit 7A without breaching the lease.” 

Though the courts have recently expanded the rights of co-op shareholders and condo unit-owners to examine and copy board documents, Justice Lebovits demurred. “Plaintiff does not need those materials anymore to prove a case that, by law, she is no longer allowed to prove,” Lebovits wrote in the decision. 

In 2016, Madonna sued the co-op board at Harperley Hall on West 64th Street and Central Park West, an Arts & Crafts style building first opened in 1911. The suit was filed two years after the board changed her original proprietary lease to say that her children and domestic help cannot live in the unit unless she herself is “in residence” at the time. 

In her original lawsuit, Madonna complained that her musical career makes it impossible for her to be home whenever her children or staff are there. “Plaintiff is a world-renowned recording artist, performer and singer who is constantly on world tours,” she claimed in the original suit. Last September, Lebovits said she waited too long to sue and tossed the claim challenging the new lease. Now he’s also tossing her demand for co-op records, saying that issue is immaterial.

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