Former Tivoli owner sues Gluck, others for $400K

By Adam Pincus | May 07, 2012 06:30PM

The former owner of a large Crown Heights rental apartment building called Tivoli Towers claims that office and residential landlord Laurence Gluck and two of his companies which bought the property in 2010, allegedly owe it $400,000 in connection with that transaction.

Donald Lentnek, who sold the 33-story Tivoli to Stellar for $9.5 million, filed the lawsuit this afternoon against Gluck, and two companies (Tivoli Stock LLC and Tivoli B.I. LLC) on behalf of himself; the estate of his late mother Betty Lentnek; and their company Tivoli Associates, seeking what Lentnek says were past due rents owed by tenants at the time of the sale.

The 320-unit apartment building at 49 Crown Street was widely considered to be in poor condition at the time Gluck, president of Stellar Management, bought it from Lentnek, in a high-profile deal negotiated along with city officials the preserve it as affordable housing. In the agreement, Stellar pledged to make improvements to the property and keep it affordable for at least 30 years through the Mitchell-Lama program.

A spokesperson for Stellar said in a statement to The Real Deal that Lentnek’s claim was “frivolous.”

“The rent arrears mentioned were unsupported by evidence and waived as part of the restructuring of the deal into a new Mitchell-Lama development,” the statement said.

The suit says Stellar agreed to make an accounting of past-due rents, and then forward an undefined amount to Lentnek. However, “defendants have breached their agreement by failing to make timely and proper payments in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement.”

Lentnek did not immediately respond to a call for comment, and his attorney Robert Goldberg, a partner with law firm Goldberg and Carlton, declined to comment.