The Real Deal New York

Retail magnate Jeff Sutton tries to evict cadavers from Brooklyn property

Lawsuit alleges that Brownsville funeral parlor is refusing to remove human remains

September 19, 2012 04:30PM
By Zachary Kussin

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From left: Jeff Sutton and 45 Remsen Avenue (credit: PropertyShark)

Retail landlord Jeff Sutton filed a lawsuit yesterday with the New York State Supreme Court against a Brownsville, Brooklyn funeral home — ostensibly over some $52,000 in unpaid rent. The tenant, the David Lane-Floyd Gilmore Funeral Service, was evicted, but there’s a hitch.

Not everybody from the 36,000-square-foot premises has been vacated — namely an unknown number of cadavers; the dead bodies were to have been removed by August 31, but the suit alleges that the human remains are still inside the defunct funeral parlor.

Sutton filed suit through a corporation named Utica & Remsen II LLC.

Calls to David Lane-Floyd Gilmore Funeral Service seeking comment and confirmation on how many cadavers were in its inventory were not returned. Neither were calls to Jeff Sutton and a spokesperson.

The first eviction notice went out on April 10. However, “Due to the presence of cadavers, ashes, and/or human remains in the Premises,” the city marshal “refused to execute on the warrant of eviction,” the lawsuit states.

Both sides then struck a binding contract in which the funeral parlor’s representatives agreed that it would not shirk the eviction notice by keeping the human remains inside the building. The owners then issued an eviction stay, through August 31; by that date, David Lane-Floyd Gilmore was to pay the rent owed and leave the property in “broom-swept condition,” or with no bodies, embalming fluids, caskets or urns inside.

But payments — to have been made in several installments of $12,500 and $5,000 — were never made, the suit said. Another attempt to evict the tenant was made on July 3, but was again thwarted, due to cadavers, ashes and remains still being present inside the facility.

“Defendants’ failure to make the required payments and their continued harboring of cadavers, ashes or human remains on the premises is a breach of the stipulation,” the lawsuit reads, which “is causing irreparable harm to the plaintiff, as plaintiff is unable to recover possession of the premises.”

City records show that Utica & Remsen II LLC has owned the property since 2002. Though the funeral parlor has a website, its page was not loaded as of this afternoon. According to its Google description, memorial services with no remains present start at $1,295.

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