The Real Deal New York

Grammy-winning songwriter says his Manhattan landlord stole $265K from
his oven

Robert Fusari says an employee of the Brodsky Organization took the cash during his eviction
By Decca Muldowney | January 08, 2019 08:00AM

Rob Fusari and 1 Columbus Place (Credit: Getty Images)

The songwriter behind Lady Gaga’s hit song “Paparazzi” alleges that an employee of his Manhattan landlord stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a locked storage case hidden in his oven.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Grammy-winning songwriter Robert Fusari alleged that $264,700 in cash disappeared from a “locked, heavy-duty Husky storage case” in his apartment while he was being evicted from a Brodsky Organization building.

Fusari, who has written songs for Lady Gaga, Destiny’s Child and Whitney Houston, rented an apartment at the Brodsky Organization’s 1 Columbus Place, a luxury condo building at Lincoln Square.

The Brodsky Organization has developed 80 buildings across Manhattan, including Chelsea Enclave, the Concerto at 200 West 60th Street, 75 West End Avenue, and 135 East 79 Street.

In early 2017, while Fusari was traveling for work, the Brodsky Organization took action to evict him without his knowledge, according to the lawsuit.

Before the eviction in March 2017, a New York City Marshall conducted an inventory of the apartment, as required by law. But Fusari’s lawyers say the Marshall missed something crucial: a safe in the oven containing $300,000 in cash.

The safe was apparently discovered by employees of Baya Inc, who were tasked with emptying the apartment for the Brodsky Organization. They found cash inside a Husky storage case, inside Fusari’s oven.

In cases where money is found during eviction proceedings, it must be handed over to the local police precinct. The lawsuit alleges an employee of the 1 Columbus Place, Yovanny De La Cruz, gave the storage case to the NYPD. The police found only $85,300 inside.

Fusari says the safe originally contained $300,000 and is suing the Brodsky Organization for the $264,700 in “stolen funds,” and a further $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time Fusari has been caught up in legal proceedings.

In 2010, Fusari filed a $30.5 million suit against Lady Gaga, claiming he had been denied his 20 percent of royalties on songs like “Paparazzi” and “Beautiful, Dirty, Rich.” In response, Lady Gaga filed a countersuit.

However, Fusari and Gaga dropped their lawsuits against each other in 2010.

But that wasn’t the end of Fusari’s legal troubles. In 2015, he lost a suit filed against him by Wendy Starland, a former colleague who said she helped to discover Lady Gaga and that Fusari cheated her out of money. Fusari was ordered by a New Jersey court to pay Starland $7.3 million.

After losing that case, Fusari withdrew $2.3 million from his accounts and entered a rehab facility, NJ Advance Media reported.

Fusari and his lawyers were not immediately available for comment. The Brodsky Organization also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.