The Real Deal New York

Tahl-Propp faces lawsuit at the Normandie

By David Jones | May 03, 2010 06:02PM

Tahl-Propp Equities, one of the biggest residential developers in Harlem, is facing a lawsuit filed late last month alleging building-wide construction defects at the Normandie, a project that was converted from rental to condominium in 2005.

According to the $3 million suit filed in New York state Supreme Court by the building’s Board of Managers, which oversees the condo operations on behalf of the owners, about half of the building’s apartments have mold in them, and other parts of the building have significant cracks, corrosion and other problems.

Other allegations are that the building has exposed heating and water pipes, cracking hardwood floors, exposed structural beams in the common areas and corroded outdoor refrigerant piping.

“Despite actual knowledge of the construction defects, sponsor failed to effect the necessary repairs, compelling plaintiff to retain the service of professional engineers to evaluate the construction defects,” attorneys for the board wrote.

Tahl-Propp, led by principal’s Joseph Tahl and Rodney Propp, first acquired the 100 West 119th Street building in 2003 and converted it into a condo. The investors together constituted one of the first big condo developers to invest in Harlem during the boom.

According to the lawsuit, Tahl, Propp and Neda Barzideh, an in-house attorney for the developer, all served on the condo board and dominated much of the management of the property since buyers first moved into the building in late 2005. Barzideh is named as a defendant, too, because she was one of the three people placed on the board by Tahl-Propp.

A lawyer for the developer, who responded on behalf of Tahl-Propp, told The Real Deal they were trying to work out an agreement that would resolve the case. Barzideh was not immediately available for comment.

“Presumably they see this as a tool to increase their leverage in negotiations,” said Ken Jacobs, attorney for the developer. “We’re happy to work with them in good faith.”

The attorney for the board confirmed that the two sides were in discussions.