On Tuesday, Sept. 14, this reporter received a transatlantic phone call from a Cypriot investor. Harris Stasis was following up on an email alerting The Observer to a squatter’s rights struggle. And while such headaches are no novel nuisance in New York City, this one cited designer Rachel Roy, ex-wife of hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, as the squatter and their foreclosed-upon luxury Tribeca condo as the tousled-over abode.
Less than two months after the 5,000-square-feet condo at the Atalanta at 25 North Moore was auctioned off for $5.5 million by Eastern Savings Bank, the buyer, Mr. Stasis’ One Platinum Company LLC, is taking Ms. Roy to court to evict her.
Mr. Stasis claims Ms. Roy, who did not respond to requests for comment, continues to inhabit the apartment, ignoring requests and demands from him and his reps. But while Mr. Stasis told The Observer that “we are entitled to a vacant apartment but she has ignored us and continued living there,” the Terms of Sale from the foreclosure sale note that the property was sold “as is” with the physical order and condition “subject to any rights of tenants and/or occupants in possession.” Translation: It’s up to the buyer to evict any current tenant.
Jay Dankberg, a landlord/tenant lawyer and a former judge who acted as referee for the Dash condos’ foreclosure auctions (another condo of Mr. Dash’s also entered foreclosure), explained the specificities to The Observer. “If they won’t leave voluntarily, then you have to evict them. It’s called an ejectment action.”
Mr. Stasis is pursuing just such an action in court on Sept. 23. Leading co-op/condo lawyer Steven Wagner explained that “they can’t just change the locks on the door, but whatever rights she has to stay there were likely done away with in the foreclosure.”
Mr. Dankberg, who is not involved in the eviction case, says that something like this could take from several weeks to several years, and cited a Bronx eviction case he is working on-it’s been ongoing since 1997.
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