Was Toll Brothers’ UES townhouse fraudulently acquired by the seller?

June 20, 2012 03:00PM

The seller of a Park Avenue property, which Toll Brothers recently purchased for $13 million, duped an elderly man to take title to the townhouse and profit from the proceeds of the sale, according to documents filed in Manhattan Surrogate Court cited by the New York Post. The townhouse, at 1108 Park Avenue, had been owned by Joseph Bogen, who also owned Boghen Pharmacy on the Upper East Side before he died last year at age 91. Shortly after Bogen’s death his family learned that he had left his fortune, including three New York-area properties, to a Polish immigrant, Elzbieta Sztuka, who claimed Bogen had fallen in love with her. But Bogen has a history of dementia, medical records show, and his family claimes he was tricked into handing over the property and other valuables to Sztuka, who is 30 years younger. Sztuka claims that Bogen was alert when he brought lawyers into his home to revise the will.

In the meantime, Sztuka’s daughter lived rent-free in 1108 Park Avenue, while her daughter’s fiance inherited a two-story apartment in the Bronx and a 46-acre farm in Walkill. In March, Toll Brothers acquired the townhouse, along with the neighboring property at 1110 Park Avenue for $29.5 million with plans to demolish the properties and erect a new, 15-story residential development. But neighbors of the properties have been fighting to block the project. [Post]