The Real Deal New York

Ansonia landlord triumphs over deadbeat psychic in court battle

The memorabilia expert owed the Ansonia $21,000 in back rent, but withheld thousands he made in a sale of an iconic John Lennon suit

October 14, 2011 03:57PM
By David Jones

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The Ansonia Hotel and John Lennon on the “Abbey Road” album

A Manhattan landlord has finally collected payment on a deadbeat psychic who skipped out on his rent payments at the Upper West Side’s Ansonia, and withheld thousands of dollars he made in a sale of an iconic John Lennon suit.

A court had previously ruled that psychic and memorabilia collector Biond Fury owed the building, at 2109 Broadway, near 73rd Street, $21,000 after skipping out on his rent payments, but Norwalk, Conn.-based Braswell Galleries went through with a planned auction of the white suit that Lennon wore on the Beatles’ classic “Abbey Road” album.

Court records show the original lease was signed in May 2008 for a monthly rent of $9,200. Fury renewed the lease in March 2009 and starting in July 2009, defaulted on the rent, failing to make any monthly payments through October 2009. He gave up the apartment Nov. 4, 2009.

Mark Arrow, the landlord at the 2109 Broadway, filed suit in New York state Supreme Court against Braswell in January, alleging the gallery sold the suit despite being served with a restraining order in December 2010 that should have blocked the sale. The suit notes that the psychic had no assets, but the art house received $46,000 from the sale of the suit.

“This is a great message to send to deadbeat tenants,” said Adam Leitman Bailey, attorney for the landlord.

According to the Braswell Galleries’ website, Fury originally bought the Ted Lapidus-designed suit in 1996 and sold it through a California auction house in 2005. He later re-acquired the suit in 2008.

Fury reportedly put the Lennon suit up for sale after getting into financial difficulties, according to published reports. In 2008, he left New York for Raleigh, N.C., buying a 9,200-square-foot house in Durham, N.C., for $1.3 million. That new home had been the site of a notorious crime, the December 2001 murder of technology executive Kathleen Peterson by her husband Mike Peterson, a local novelist and former mayoral candidate.

An unrelated couple had acquired the house for $640,000 in 2004 and later put it on the market years later for $2.1 million, before ultimately selling the property to Fury.

Fury could not be immediately be reached for comment, nor could Braswell. And attorney Laurence Pearson, who represented Fury in the landlord-tenant case, said he was not involved in the Braswell case, and had not been in touch with Fury.

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