In Room 844 of New York City Civil Court on Friday, Oct. 29, Judge Brenda Spears began to lose her patience.
“But why are the police there all the time?” she asked Dr. Joseph Mirakhor.
She was following up on the 31-year-old ER physician’s rebuttal to allegations that his drug-fueled, all-night parties at 31 West 21st Street, a swank Flatiron condo, were a security threat.
“Because my landlord calls them!”
Dr. Mirakhor argued that the owner of his condo, Sam Hamadeh, the plaintiff in this eviction case, as well as others in the building were intent on smearing him. He explained that the police were there “all the time” but had never uncovered any illegal drugs or activity.
Nevertheless, in July, Mr. Hamadeh filed to evict Dr. Mirakhor–nicknamed Dr. Love and Dr. Douchebag by unhappy neighbors–from the $5 million full-floor loft that he rents for $12,000 per month. The grounds for the eviction? The raucous parties at the 12-unit building originally constructed in 1908 as factory space.
Dr. Mirakhor’s guests habitually staggered out in the early morning hours, according to residents, security cameras (installed to catch the comings and goings of said guests) and the super, Charles Lopez. Mr. Lopez, present for the arraignment to ensure that the doctor’s motion for stays was denied, told The Observer, “It went from a calm, collected building to what we have now–unfortunately, we’re under siege.”
The doctor lives directly below Colombian heir Andreas Santo Domingo and his sartorially blessed socialite bride, Lauren, who own the building’s third-floor loft and are leaders of the angry neighbor brigade: Both Santo Domingos (pictured)appeared in court Oct. 29 with their personal counsel, Costa Kensington. So did Scott Krawitz, who lives on the eighth floor and who said he fears for the safety of his son–the boy was recently accosted in the elevator on his way to school.
“The elevator door opened to my home and there was this absolutely drugged-out, drunken man in the elevator, and my son got in, and it’s just so frightening,” Mr. Krawitz told The Observer. “The thing about our building is that they’re one-floor lofts, so when the elevator door opens, it opens into your home”–the fate of many converted loft apartments–“so if the guy on two doesn’t bring them in, they just loiter.”
The building’s 6,000-square-foot penthouse, currently on the market for $15 million, gained repute as Shia LaBeouf’s character’s place in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. And apparently Mr. LeBeouf’s real-life downstairs neighbor never sleeps, either.
Mr. Hamadeh described what surveillance tapes revealed of his tenant’s late-night guests. “On the way up in the elevator, they’re heard saying, ‘I hear you can get whatever drugs you want from this guy because he’s a doctor.’ On the way out, they’re stumbling, being like, ‘What the hell happened to me? Someone slipped me a pill.'”
Mr. Hamadeh clenched his round jaw disdainfully. “It’s a dangerous situation that the hospital needs to take control of and keep track of his ‘script pad.'” (When asked what measures it would take to investigate, New York Medical Center of Queens, where Dr. Mirakhor works, would only state its policy of not commenting on employees’ personal lives.)
Mr. Hamadeh and Dr. Mirakhor sat on opposite sides of the wooden table in front of Judge Spears. The tenant took his seat slowly, his interlaced hands on the tabletop revealing the royal blue cuffs of a striped shirt under a dark suit. Dr. Mirakhor chose to act as his own counsel.
Doreen Fischmann, Mr. Hamadeh’s lawyer, cited seven specific instances in which Dr. Mirakhor had deliberately violated the conditions of the eviction. “Conditions are so horrific,” she continued, “that people have taken time out of their busy schedules to come here today.”
Judge Spears quickly glanced up at the crowded rows of benches behind the bar.
Ms. Santo Domingo, casually clad in a men’s-cut blazer, tweed carrot-shaped trousers and black Belgian loafers, leaned forward the better to hear the proceedings, which were muffled by ambient voices. When a seat closer to the proceedings opened up, the Vogue contributing editor quickly took it, leaving her husband and Mr. Krawitz in the back row. The aquiline blonde perched on the edge of the wooden bench to hear the judge’s ruling.
“You’re going to get evicted,” Judge Spears told Dr. Love flatly.
How much time did he have left in the apartment, he asked the judge.
“Not an awful lot.” She slammed the gavel.
Outside the courtroom, the neighbors gathered, relieved. “I was a little nervous, but I think it’s O.K. now,” Ms. Santo Domingo told The Observer before excusing herself to join her husband and Mr. Kensington, “If you don’t mind, I just want to try and get a recap.”
“When is it going to happen?” she asked Mr. Kensington.
“They’re going to do it as soon as possible,” the attorney replied, paternally patting the back of her wool blazer.
Dr. Mirakhor left the courtroom quickly, slipping his BlackBerry out of his pocket before even passing through the bar, dialing furiously.
“Wonderful job, Doreen!” Mr. Kensington bellowed to Ms. Fischman.
She deferred compliments. “This belongs in a small movie about living in New York City,” she said, patting down the hem of her skirt suit. “That this many people had to come down here because of this one guy …”
She shook her head. “He’s not Dr. Love, he’s Dr. Nightmare!”
“What a relief!” Ms. Santo Domingo sighed.
Mr. Hamadeh smiled. “I mean, out within 48 hours–that’s extremely rare. He has to have a moving truck there on Monday morning.” (A satisfied BlackBerry snapshot of a white Ryder truck mid-loading was emailed around Monday morning.)
The group clustered merrily in the elevator. “We’re going to have to have our own party when we finally get him out,” Mr. Krawitz said.
“Yeah, and I know the perfect apartment,” someone replied wryly.
Triumphant chuckles erupted as the elevator doors opened onto the courthouse lobby.