Even in New York City, all the money in the world can’t buy you peace and quiet.
Hamburg Tang, the 85-year-old disgruntled semiconductor tycoon who sued billionaire neighbor Howard Marks and the 740 Park Avenue co-op board over noisy renovations, has won an order from a New York Supreme Court judge to limit the the amount of time per day Marks can carry out his now years long construction work.
Marks, 70, bought the duplex apartment directly above Tang and his wife Miranda for $52.5 million in 2012, but has never moved into the unit. Shortly after purchase he embarked on what is a still unfinished epic of demolition and renovations, according to the suit.
Despite co-op board rules that limit the months in the year as well as the hours of the day during which apartment alterations can take place, the Tangs alleged that Marks did not comply, and in one case severely damaged the Tangs’ home when a ceiling collapse led to flooding, according to the suit. Furthermore, the Tangs say they complained several times to the board, but the board kept extending the construction work deadlines for Marks’ years-long labor of love, they alleged.
The Tangs’ attorney, Adam Leitman Bailey, went as far as to suggest that the co-op board showed racial bias towards the Tangs, who are of Chinese descent. “We realized the board is a white man’s billionaire’s club,” he told the New York Post on Monday. “They were not treated with the same respect as others.”
But with the ruling from Judge Kathryn Freed now in the hands of the Tangs, the co-op board will have to abide by its own rules. The order only allows nuts and bolts construction work between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Noise coming from machines in the apartment, which according to Freed’s order damaged the Tangs’ health and violated the New York City Administrative Code’s “Noise Code,” must also stop no later than 6:30 p.m., the order says.
“We had a very intelligent, thoughtful judge that brought justice to these billionaires,” Bailey told The Real Deal. “No matter how much money they have they still have to obey the building’s rules and allow our clients to live in peace.”
Abigail Snow, attorney for the 740 Park Avenue co-op board, declined to comment on the order. Patricia Doran, an attorney for Howard Marks, could not be reached by press time.
In May, the Post reported that the famed co-op building, home to such rich and famous figures as designer Vera Wang and the billionaire businessman David Koch, was set to become a construction hell during the summer months, the only months the co-op board typically allows heavy-duty renovation work. A fire that broke out at the building in April damaged the homes of David Koch as well as those of hedge funder David Ganek and Bernie Madoff associate Ezra Merkin.