The Real Deal New York

Locksmith claims Ashkenazy is locking him out of bathroom

UES business owner files lawsuit against landlord detailing botched renovations, repairs

February 15, 2016 02:50PM

1335 Lexington Avenue

1335 Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side (inset: Ben Ashkenazy)

An Upper East Side locksmith claims Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. is locking him out from the most essential of amenities – a bathroom.

Menashe Sofer, owner of Night & Day Locksmith at Lexington Avenue and East 89th Street, recently filed a lawsuit detailing how landlord Ashkenazy allegedly made life messy for him and his staff.

Sofer has owned the small shop, which shares a basement-level bathroom and storage room with an adjacent commercial unit, since 1978, according to the New York Post.

The prior landlord renovated the space several years ago, cutting off water and restricting access to the toilet. Ashkenazy bought the commercial condo for $17 million in 2014 and allowed him to get the bathroom back as long as he paid $800 to restore the water and repair it, Sofer alleged. After a construction snafu, the electrical wiring was cut and access continues to be restricted, he claims.

“I don’t have a prostate,” Sofer told the Post. “When I need a bathroom, I need a bathroom. I’m 65 years old. I’m a grandfather. Why are [they] putting me through this?”

Sofer said he and his 75-year-old store manager “have suffered humiliating accidents in the store, which is not only demoralizing and demeaning, but it directly affects their ability to conduct business,” according to court documents.

Ashkenazy, led by Ben Ashkenazy, has about $7 billion under management worldwide. Ashkenazy bought the Madison Avenue Hermes men’s store for $115 million in July of last year, and in late 2014 bought the New York Marriott for $290 million. [NYP]Rey Mashayekhi