Vavilov Settles With Eloise—Buys Disputed Plaza Unit at Discount

It will be exceedingly awkward when Plaza neighbors bump into Andrei Vavilov, who became a deputy finance minister under Yeltsin, survived a Kremlin parking lot assassination attempt, made his fortune in Russian oil, signed a contract in February 2007 for a $53.5 million two-unit triplex penthouse spread at the Plaza, sued the building’s developers for fraud to get his deposit back last September, and was countersued for defamation two weeks later.

Last week, The Times reported that Mr. Vavilov and developer El-Ad settled, vaguely suggesting that Mr. Vavilov had left the building. Not true.

According to city records, in late January he bought the smaller unit under the name Hayling Island Inc., paying a tad more than $11 million. A source said he didn’t get his $10.7 million deposit back as he wanted, but instead swapped it for the smaller penthouse, paying a few dollars more but getting a discount from the original $14 million he was going to spend on it.

It’s monstrously ironic that he would want to close at the Plaza, considering that his suit invoked Eloise to condemn his units’ woeful inadequacy. “Look, he was very unhappy with what it is, and he didn’t want to throw good money after bad, but unless they were going to court, that was the compromise,” a source said.

One imagines that Mr. Vavilov will put the unit back on the market, considering that El-Ad’s countersuit said his wife was dissatisfied with the original two-unit penthouse’s size, which means living in the smaller unit would be worse.

Representatives for Mr. Vavilov and El-Ad, which hasn’t put the bigger penthouse on the market yet, would not comment.

Vavilov Settles With Eloise—Buys Disputed Plaza Unit at Discount