The Real Deal New York

Developer claims Dakota board tried to wine, dine him to prevent suit

Metropole Realty head's $55 million beef continues in new court documents

August 10, 2015 01:25PM

From left: Robert Siegel and the Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street

From left: Robert Siegel and the Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street

Robert Siegel’s long-running dispute with the Dakota continues, with the developer claiming co-op board members of the famed Upper West Side building attempted to ply him with food and drink so he would not file a lawsuit against them.

Siegel, CEO of Midtown-based Metropole Realty Advisors, cites the alleged trickery in new court documents as part of his $55 million lawsuit against the Dakota co-op board.

The developer took action against the iconic building, at 1 West 72nd Street, earlier this summer, claiming he’s been blocked for years from renovating and moving into a ground-floor duplex he bought for $2.2 million in 1999.

The Dakota’s lawyers responded to Siegel’s suit by claiming it exceeded the six-year statute of limitations for fraud, according to the New York Post. But Siegel now alleges that co-op board members pursued a plan to “deceitfully string me along and lull me into not suing until enough time passed” to invoke the statute of limitations.

Dakota board members “actively and deceptively led me to believe that a camaraderie and trust had developed between us,” Siegel added, referring to some on the Dakota board as “schemers or con artists.”

While Siegel claims he was promised he could turn the unit, a former ballroom, into a four-bedroom apartment when he bought it, the Dakota has been using the space as storage. Broker Dolly Lenz recently said the space would be worth $40 million if someone were to buy it today. [NYP]Rey Mashayekhi