The Real Deal New York

Architect’s widow sues Chetrit over death at Flatotel conversion

Lawsuit claims developer and contractors failed to take proper safety measures
April 17, 2017 09:15AM

Joe Chetrit and Bruno Travalja with renderings of the Flatotel condo conversion at 135 West 52nd Street

The widow of the architect who fell to his death last year at the Chetrit Group’s condo conversion of the Flatotel in Midtown is suing the developer and its contractors, claiming they failed to provide the proper safety equipment.

Alexia Travalja filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court last week after her husband, Bruno Travalja, fell more than 40 stories when he slipped while working at the site at 135 West 52nd Street in September, DNAinfo reported.

Travalja claims Chetrit and contractors New Line Structures, Construction and Realty Services Group and Safety Squad were aware that there were dangerous conditions at the site, but did not attend to them.

“[T]he incident, and the fatal injuries suffered by… Travalja were occasioned solely by the absence, insufficiency, inadequacy and/or defectiveness of safety equipment at the location of the incident and the defendants’ violations of the New York State Labor Laws,” according the lawsuit, which is seeking unspecified damages.

Bruno Travalja, 52, was wearing a harness when he slipped, but it wasn’t attached to anything, according to police and a spokesperson for the Department of Buildings.

Chetrit, along with partner Clipper Equity, paid $180 million in 2013 to buy the 254,000-square-foot Flatotel, which they converted to 190 condos. Sales are still ongoing, according to StreetEasy, with a unit selling in February for $5.3 million.

In November 2015, Chetrit settled a lawsuit that he accepted $40 million in laundered money out of Kazakhstan to fund the project.  [DNAinfo] – Rich Bockmann