Sometimes when a New York condominium owner seeks to renovate or otherwise alter the structure of the property, the alteration agreement or the condo's bylaws are ambiguous. This type of situation can lead to disputes between owners and management. Ideally, such a dispute can be resolved outside of court, but occasionally it is necessary to litigate for a favorable outcome.
A well-known antique dealer and her daughter recently filed a lawsuit against the board of their condo in Manhattan. Ariane Dandoi and her daughter Ondine de Rothschild bought two apartments for nearly $13 million in 2006. Another $5 million went toward renovating and combining the penthouse properties, but the mom and daughter hit a snag when the president of the condo board reportedly blocked landscaping plans for a large outdoor space.
According to one report, the developer of the condo initially approved the landscaping changes. However, the lawsuit brought by the mother and daughter claims that the board president engaged in harassment by refusing to okay the plans over the course of several years.
Reports differ on the amount sought by the plaintiffs. One article says the lawsuit seeks $6 million, and another report indicates that the plaintiffs have brought a discrimination claim in pursuit of $1 million. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs have claimed that the board president made derogatory remarks about their supposed "lifestyle."
An attorney for the condo board said the board and the president deny those allegations, and it remains to be seen if the plaintiffs' claims can be substantiated.
As with other disputes over condo construction, the bylaws and house rules may be up for interpretation. New Yorkers with condo and co-op concerns may want to follow this story as it unfolds.
Source: New York Post, "Mom, daughter slap condo with $1 million bias suit," Julia Marsh and Erin Calabrese, Feb. 1, 2014
Source: The Real Deal, "Rothschild mistress and daughter sue condo board for $6M," Christopher Cameraon, Feb. 1, 2014