Mr. Mann effectively agreed to leave earlier this year, and in recent months reports have been painting a hilariously rosy picture of the Apthorp’s world. The Times said Alec Baldwin, Tommy Mottola, Jill Zarin, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick were interested in buying; the Daily News said Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were, too; The Real Deal said Bruce Willis came by, and that superstar broker Dolly Lenz was taking over the building’s sales efforts.
MEANWHILE, THE FEUD STEWS. “So the story I have to tell you concerns the Apthorp,” a source close to the investors unhappy with Africa Israel said at the beginning of a call to The Observer on the evening of Friday, Aug. 14. “There are a lot of angry local investors who feel they have been royally fucked.”
To embarrass Africa Israel, the source passed along the site http://www.upperwestsideny.info, which would apparently show that Africa Israel was improperly advertising apartments for far below the approved figures in a last-ditch effort to sell its 25 units. “Because of the actions of the Sponsor,” the site says, “we have the ability to purchase apartments in a renovated state” for as low as $800 per square foot, or about a quarter of the original prices.
The site was copyrighted by Frank Farricker, a broker and landlord who now sits on the Planning and Zoning Commission in Greenwich, Conn. When he ran for the Connecticut State Senate three years ago, he was criticized for allegedly using phony applications to kick out tenants in Brooklyn.
“That’s just me trying to sell the Apthorp, that’s not approved by anybody,” he said on Monday, explaining that the site was set up to advertise the Apthorp to a small group of international clients. “They’re like a buying club,” he said. “They had something that the Apthorp really needed, in my view, which is individual buyers. But they’re scattered around the country, and all around the world for that matter, so I had to set up a Web site.”
Was he dangling tantalizingly low numbers in front of potential investors? “I thought it was a good idea. It was me trying to sell people, and it didn’t work,” Mr. Farricker said. “We went to the sponsors and said, ‘We have an opportunity to solve your problem.’ And they were enormously cooperative. … We just didn’t make a business deal. At the end of the day, that’s what happened.”