Queens co-op charges shareholder legal fees over dog dispute that didn’t go to court

TRD New York /
Jun.June 17, 2011 02:15 PM

In a move that some may say represents  the inherent problems with co-op rules, a Queens co-op that vowed to evict a shareholder unless he gave up his pet pitbull has issued him a $1,000 bill for legal fees — even though the case never made it to court, the Daily News reported.

David Teitelbaum, who lives at Dayton Towers in Rockaway Beach, was told the fee covered the co-op’s legal fees relating to the issue — for a couple of letters sent out by the board’s attorney. The white dog, Aphrodite, helps him cope with bi-polar disorder, he said.

Shareholders, tenant advocates said, have few options in the face of a spiteful board, charging fees without merit.

“There are no checks and balances,” said Larry Simms, president of the Alliance of Condo and Co-op Owners. “There are too many times when board members or managing agents are inclined to be abusive.”

A building manager promised to drop the fee only when the Daily News called to investigate.

Had the board stuck by its charge and Teitelbaum failed to pay, tenant attorneys say the board would have kept the incident on his account and demanded payment if he ever decided to sell. [NYDN]

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