Quest Magazine Chairman Plays Chicken with Mortgage Company, Wins

S. Christopher Meigher III, the well-bred, well-connected, well-tanned chairman and CEO of society magazine Quest, is not the kind of New Yorker whose name appears in public notices for co-op auctions.

But an Upper East Side broker who apparently likes leafing through The Observer’s legal section found a recent notice for an exclamatory sale—“BY VIRTUE OF DEFAULT”—of Mr. Meigher’s two-unit apartment at 164 East 72nd Street.

An auction was scheduled for this Thursday, at 12:30, at the front steps of New York’s Supreme Court, “in satisfaction of an indebtedness in the principal amount of $853,461.55 plus interest.” There was even an auctioneer picked out, a scary-sounding Lawrence Estreich.

Has the publisher, whose magazine’s “Fresh Finds” section currently features a $22,000 Girard-Perregaux pink gold watch with an alligator strap, fallen victim to the nationwide mortgage crisis? Not quite. “I wish there was a story,” Mr. Meigher told The Observer. “It was kind of a boneheaded game of chicken on a re-fi”—meaning that he and his wife tactically withheld a few mortgage payments because they disagreed with their bank.

“We felt we understood the terms one way, and they”—that would be HSBC Mortgage Corporation—“felt they understood it another way, and we, through pretty good advisers, got them to understand,” he said.

“We got the rate we wanted with the bank, the same bank, so I can’t complain,” he said. “All’s well that ends well.” That means the auction has been canceled, Mr. Estreich won’t be needed, and Mr. Meigher will keep an apartment that reportedly is decorated with canoes, oars and animal heads on the walls. Quest Magazine Chairman Plays Chicken with Mortgage Company, Wins