$3.5M personal guarantee battle rages years after Bowery eviction

February 27, 2012 12:30PM

A one-time co-owner of the Lower East Side collaborative and controversial avant-garde art space Collective Hardware is facing a renewed effort by his ex-landlord to recoup $3.52 million in personal guarantees.

The former co-owner of Collective Hardware, Dan McClure, helped manage the ambitious project, located in the nondescript five-story building at 169 Bowery, between Delancey and Broome streets. The arts collective closed in 2010.

Last month McClure, represented by law firm Oved & Oved, beat back a multi-million dollar claim in a lawsuit filed in July 2010 by building owner Gordon Lau’s company 169 Bowery LLC, related to Collective Hardware’s time in the building. On Jan. 17, a New York State Supreme Court justice threw out the $3.52 million personal guarantee claim against McClure, as well as several other causes of action, but the overall lawsuit remains active.

Then, on Feb. 17, Lau’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal, seeking to reinstate the personal guarantee claim, and some additional causes of action.

McClure said he thinks the January decision was the right one.

“I am pleased that the court’s decision gave effect to what my attorneys and I have contended all along,” he said.

Lau declined to comment on the litigation, but is moving ahead with a proposal to convert most of the building to residential use, with retail on the ground floor. He filed plans last September to add two stories to the structure, but those permits have not been approved, city Department of Building records show.

McClure and partner Ronald Rivellini opened the space after signing a 10-year lease with landlord, Lau’s company 169 Bowery LLC, in August 2007. But almost immediately, the tenant had trouble paying the rent, and additional problems such as a fire, court papers allege. — Adam Pincus