The Real Deal New York

Billionaire sues David Wildenstein over alleged deal to sell UES townhouse for $79M

Len Blavatnik says art dealer reneged on handshake agreement to sell 19 East 64th Street

November 14, 2016 09:42AM

From left: Len Blavatnik, 19 East 64th Street and David Wildenstein

From left: Len Blavatnik, 19 East 64th Street and David Wildenstein (credit: Getty Images)

Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik is suing David Wildenstein, saying the art-dealer heir reneged on a gentleman’s agreement to sell him one of the city’s toniest Upper East Side townhouses.

In a new Manhattan lawsuit, Blavatnik claims he “shook hands” with Wildenstein on an agreement to buy the family property at 19 East 64th Street for $79 million. The billionaire says Wildenstein pulled out of the deal, the New York Post reported. According to court filings, Blavatnik is accusing Wildenstein of  using his offer to get a better price for the property.

“David Wildenstein acted in bad faith and knowingly misrepresented his capacity to consummate this transaction in order to selfishly serve his own interests,” said a spokesman for Blavatnik.

According to suit, the deal went awry when Wildenstein tried to push the sale’s closing date back to March 2017. He then claimed he was not “authorized to sell the property, but had to obtain board approval,” the suit alleges. The Wildensteins are trying to sell the 20,500-square-foot town house — which is currently listed for $100 million by Cushman and Wakefield TRData LogoTINY — to a Chinese conglomerate, according to the Post.

Blavatnik, who broke a record last year when he paid $77.5M for Woody Johnson’s co-op, is suing Wildenstein to sell to him or be paid $10 million.

It’s not the first time the property, which was designed by Gilded Age architect Horace Trumbauer, has made headlines. In 2014 the nation of Qatar pulled the plug on a deal to buy the townhouse for $90 million. [NYP]Miriam Hall

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