The Real Deal New York

Joe Cayre, Core face $10M lawsuit by Blanca Lofts condo board

December 28, 2009 06:29PM
By David Jones


From left: Shaun Osher, CEO of Core, developer Joseph Cayre, and Blanca Lofts at 206 East 73rd Street

Developer Joseph Cayre and residential brokerage firm Core are facing a $10 million lawsuit by the Blanca Lofts condominium board, which is alleging widespread fraud, negligence and breach of contract in the construction of the Upper East Side building and the sale of its units.

The suit against Cayre and Core comes as Blanca Lofts, a 10-unit condo at 206 East 73rd Street, faces two other lawsuits alleging widespread flooding, mold and other defects in the quality of materials and workmanship.

The $10 million board suit, filed Dec. 21 in New York State Supreme Court, names Gadaleta and HHF Design Consulting, led by Helmut Hans Fenster, as defendants. It alleges negligence, fraud, misrepresentation and professional malpractice related to the architectural, engineering and consulting services at the building. HHF and Fenster, in court documents, denied the allegations and made cross claims against Cayre, Core and the other contractors.

Fenster claims his firm, HHF, did engineering work, and if there is any negligence or fraud, it was done on behalf of the other defendants.

Foremost Contractors and Alcon Builders Group were named as defendants by the board, alleging fraud, negligence and breach of contract in the construction of the property. Edward Safran, attorney for Foremost, filed court papers seeking the case be reassigned to the commercial division of the state Supreme Court. He was not immediately available for comment and nor were Alcon Builders officials.

Wolf Haldenstein attorney Steven Sladkus, representing the condo board, was not immediately available for comment.

In November, American International Insurance filed suit against the sponsor and construction firm, Alcon Builders Group, alleging that it paid $101,863 to Jamie Mergler, the owner of a penthouse apartment that sustained flood damage. The insurance firm claims the flooding was the result of negligence by the sponsor and the contractor, and it is seeking reimbursement.

Cayre, the chairman of Midtown Equities, developed the Michael Gadaleta-designed building under a joint venture with Synergy, called Cayre-Synergy 73rd.

Officials from the developer, Midtown Equities, and the broker, Core, were not immediately available for comment.

In July, a Manhattan couple, Andrea Liberman and Trevor Gurwich, filed to get their deposits back on two apartments at Blanca Lofts. That suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, alleged extensive flooding, mold and use of inferior materials. The couple spent a total of $4 million to buy the apartments, and another $1.5 million for upgrades to the units. They are seeking $30 million in damages.

They claim that besides the leaks, residents in the building have been trapped in stuck elevators at least 20 times, according to the suit.

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