The Real Deal New York

From N.C. jail, a convicted diamond thief fights to save her NYC apartment

The fate of her rent-stabilized Kips Bay home will now be decided in court

October 16, 2016 11:00AM

A diamond thief and East 29th Street in Kips Bay (image credit: BadLuckKitty via Deviant Art)

A diamond thief and East 29th Street in Kips Bay (image credit: BadLuckKitty via Deviant Art)

Every New Yorker is used to war stories involving rent-controlled (or stabilized) apartments. Buyouts, ignored repairs, illegal sublets and landlords who will stop at nothing to get tenants out are all part of everyday life here. But this is a new one to us – a diamond thief fighting to save a Kips Bay apartment from North Carolina jail.

Dina Garfinkel is a convicted jewel thief in a North Carolina jail awaiting trial, and her landlord wants her rent-stabilized apartment back. Now, Garfinkel is taking the fight to court, according to the New York Post.

Garfinkel’s management company, Habitat II, argues that she is illegally subletting the $1,599.31-a-month apartment from jail. Garfinkel says that she is not illegally subletting, rather her absence is “involuntary” and the occupant was her roommate.

In 2007, Garfinkel pleaded guilty to grand larceny for scamming a Diamond District jeweler out of $1.2 million in jewels. She’s lived at a 17-story high-rise on East 29th Street since 1977.

She claims that the landlord is hoping to double the rent on the apartment by forcing her to leave.

“The person she sublet the apartment to has been informed he needs to leave. Dina has been informed that she needs to continue to pay rent and she can keep her apartment,” Habitat said in a statement. . [NYP] Christopher Cameron

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