The Real Deal New York

Naftali sues wealthy renters who refuse to leave penthouse

Developer claims couple's continued presence has caused $25M in construction delays
March 19, 2015 01:50PM

The Naftali Group sued a wealthy couple occupying one of its penthouses, claiming that the couple refused to leave after their lease expired and thus preventing the developer from proceeding with a condominium conversion.

Naftali bought the Shepherd House at 277 West 10th Street in the West Village in partnership with Starwood Capital last year for $68.2 million, with plans to convert the rental building to condos, and reduce the number of units from 145 to just 42, according to the New York Daily News.

David Moody, a mergers-and-acquisitions attorney, and Ellen Guilfoyle started renting the apartment in 2013 at $7,800 per month, but the rent eventually increased to $25,000 per month. Naftali served them with an early-termination notice last year, and their original lease expired in February, but allegedly, they are staying put. According to the suit, the couple has purchased a $4 million apartment nearby and does not want to leave until renovations are completed at The New Place.

The landlord also claims that the couple owes $120,000 in back rent, that their behavior has been “willful, malicious and unconscionable,” and that they have caused $25 million in construction delays. [NYDN] — Tess Hofmann