Tribeca Mews developers back in court over missing C of O

By David Jones | October 03, 2013 12:40PM

Father and son developers Brad and Harold Thurman are facing a $6 million lawsuit from the Tribeca Mews condominium board for allegedly failing to obtain a permanent certificate of occupancy at the project because of a slew of construction defects.

Tribeca Space Managers, the board at the 87-unit building at 25 Murray Street, claims that the condos are riddled with problems, from leaks in the roof and electrical room to the lack of a fire alarm system that complies with building codes, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 23 in New York State Supreme Court.

Although the first closings took place in 2009, the Thurmans have failed to get the Department of Buildings to sign off on the occupancy certificate, and a temporary certificate was set to expire two years after the first closing, according to the suit.

The board has also accused the developers of inking a sweetheart deal for seven of the final ten units, including three penthouses. The sponsor sold the units to an alleged affiliate, called 25 MyRentCo, in 2011 for zero dollars, according to court and city Department of Finance records.

The three remaining sponsor-owned units were then sold to outside buyers, with at least some of the proceeds distributed to the developers, the suit claims.

The Thurmans were not immediately available for comment.

Tribeca Mews buyers have complained in the past about problems at the development, including to former New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who in 2008 ordered the developers to offer to rescind buyers’ contracts, as The Real Deal previously reported.

A spokesperson for current AG Eric Schneiderman said the office did not immediately have access to records dating back that far.

In a 2008 lawsuit, three buyers — including Lisa Silverstein, a senior vice president at Silverstein Properties and the daughter of World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein — claimed the Thurmans had purposely delayed closings in order to break contracts and resell the units at higher prices. At the time, lawyers for the developers denied the claims to The Real Deal.

In the latest suit, the condo board alleged the defendants committed breach of contract and fraudulent conveyance, and accused Brad Thurman of breach of fiduciary duty.

Along with the $6 million in damages, the board is seeking a court order compelling the developers to fix the defects, install the fire alarms, secure a permanent certificate of occupancy and name a receiver for the seven units.

James Schwartz, attorney for the board, said there was no court hearing date set for the injunction request, but otherwise declined to comment. Department of Buildings officials were checking on the status of the certificate of occupancy, and were not immediately available.

The Tribeca Mews litigation echoes an August suit filed by the condo board of 96 Rockwell Place in Fort Greene. The board claimed that developer Joshua Landau completed the 37-unit condo conversion in 2009, but has failed to get a permanent certificate of occupancy. The temporary certificate expired in July.

Landau, in a Sept. 13 sworn affidavit, claimed that the certificates could not be renewed because the board had illegal work done on the building’s plumbing systems. He said that he had since obtained a temporary certificate that is valid through Oct. 6. The parties have agreed to extend the time for Landau to file an answer to the complaint until Oct. 4.