Score this one David 1, Goliath 0.
After a protracted and messy legal battle, the lone holdout tenant in an Upper West Side rental has agreed to vacate after receiving a substantial settlement, clearing the way for the Naftali Group to build an 18-story luxury condo tower on the site, Crain's reports.
Naftali had sued Ahmet Ozsu in February 2022, saying it had ended his month-to-month lease at 211 W. 84th St. at the end of 2021, and his refusal to leave was delaying construction of the new building. The developer sought $25 million in damages.
The amount of the settlement is confidential, but Ozsu's attorney, Adam Leitman Bailey, tells Habitat that his client "can buy an apartment" with the money from the settlement. Similar claims have been reported by other news outlets. Naftali's attorney, Y. David Scharf, declined to comment on the settlement. Representatives for the developer did not respond to a question about the overall cost.
Naftali paid $70.3 million for the site, and it attempted to move forward with the project even while Ozsu was still in the building, filing demolition plans for the property in July. Bailey argued at the time that the developer was harassing his client by cutting off electricity in parts of the building and curtailing his supplies of gas and hot water.
A judge allowed Ozsu to stay in the building in August pending a decision on his emergency rental assistance application. Naftali had offered him $30,000 to leave the building, Bailey previously told Crain's. Given the cost of New York City apartments, it's a safe bet that Ozsu settled for considerably more than that.
Bailey, who took on the case on a contingency basis, adds, "We are very glad that this had a happy ending."
Engage, enrage, ask questions and give answers with your community of board members. Submit your questions and comments here!
Co-op and condo board business broken down into bite-sized bits - 2 stories each week. Read now on all digital devices.