The government of Somalia is facing foreclosure on a unit in the office condominium building where the country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located.
The unit, #703 at 425 East 61st Street, is slated for a foreclosure auction May 7, 2010, according to court documents and PropertyShark.com.
The foreclosure suit, filed by the condo board in 2008, stems from $194,332 in unpaid common charges dating back nearly 20 years, according to court documents. A January court judgment also required the Democratic Republic of Somalia to pay the condo $58,751 in attorneys’ fees.
Elmi Ahmed Duale, Somalia’s current ambassador to the U.N., told The Real Deal that the government is working to pay the condo board in time to Prevent The Auction From Taking Place.
“We are seeing how best to pay those to whom the property owes something,” Duale said.
He added that the mission will not have to Move Even If The Auction Takes Place, because his office is located in another unit the Somali government owns in the building, #702. Problems paying common charges in the building followed the overthrow of the Somali government in 1991, he added, but declined to go into further detail.
The BBC reported in February that Somalia’s cash-strapped government would close three of its five embassies in Europe due to a shortage of funds. Somalia has been wracked by civil war since 1991, and the UN-backed coalition government, formed in 2009, controls only parts of the country. Somalia closed its embassy in Washington, DC years ago.
The Somali government bought unit #703 in 1987, and #702 a year later, according to city documents.
Duale told the condo board’s attorney in 2009 that unit #703 was vacant and not used for diplomatic functions, court papers say. Instead, it was used as a rental property to generate income for the mission.
In 1993, the condo board filed a $56,689.62 lien for missing common charges and other payments, city documents indicate. Another lien for $61,542.21 was filed in 1998 and a third for $44,955.16 in 2007 (see 2007 lien below).
The attorney representing the Somali government, Robert Thabit, and the lawyer for condo board, William Rifkin of Belkin Burden Wenig and Goldman, declined to comment.