Broadway Choreographer Takes the Stage at Distressed Chelsea Duplex

Sergio Trujillo has danced his way into a phenomenal Chelsea penthouse at the Lion’s Head Condominiums (there’s one on the facade) at 121 West 19th Street, according to city records. Mr. Trujillo, called “The Ubiquitous Choreographer” by Playbill, has staged dance routines most recently for The Addams Family, Memphis, Jersey Boys and Next to Normal.

Yet Mr. Trujillo’s $2.445 million was anything but normal.

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Mr. Tujillo was among a handful of buyers vying for the 1,826-square-foot duplex, according to listing broker Brian Meier of Douglas Elliman, and he actually paid $10,000 over the last asking price.

Yet things were even more frenzied when the two-bedroom, two-bath home first came on the market five years ago.

The then-sponsor unit was first purchased in July 2006 for $1.97 million and sold a month later for $3.4 million. It was re-listed in January 2007 for $3.95 million, but never found a new buyer. Things clearly got desperate, as was often the case at the height of the real estate mania, as the apartment went through five price changes between March and September. No payments were made on the $2.7 million mortgage, either, according to people familiar with the case, and lender Bank of America foreclosed on the duplex in November 2007. It was never occupied.

“People were doing crazy things,” an attorney involved in the case told The Observer.

Yet the craziness did not end with foreclosure. Mr. Meier said he was eager to sell the unit to Mr. Trujillo, who especially liked the lofty 12-foot celings, though the broker ultimately fear the deal would fall through. “He complained about so much, I was concerned he wasn’t going to buy it, and then he comes in with this big offer,” Mr. Meier said. Just another diva, then? “I wouldn’t call him a diva, I’d call him a dick,” the broker said. “And you can quote me on that.”

Mr. Trujillo was working on a new musical in Chicago-Whoopi Goldberg’s White Noise-and was unavailable for comment. His manager, Pamela Cooper, said Mr. Meier’s assessment could not be further from the truth. “I’m a little shocked,” Ms. Cooper said. “I’m telling you, I have artists who are difficult, and Sergio is not one of them. He is the nicest man and takes care of his family.”

SLIDESHOW: Go Inside the Lion’s Den. >>

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