Oleg Cassini’s former UES headquarters faces foreclosure

Lynx Asset Services claims Cassini's widow defaulted on a $9.5M mortgage
By Christian Bautista | June 20, 2019 11:45AM

15 East 63rd Street and Oleg Cassini (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

15 East 63rd Street and Oleg Cassini (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

UPDATED, June 21, 12:30 p.m.: An Upper East Side townhouse that was once house the headquarters of the late fashion designer Oleg Cassini is now facing foreclosure.

Florida-based lender Lynx Asset Services, which holds a $9.5 million mortgage on the property at 15 East 63rd Street, filed a commercial foreclosure action in New York State Supreme Court last week. Court records show that Lynx sent Cassini’s widow a notice of default on July 13 of last year. According to the document, Marianne Nestor Cassini missed three monthly payments in May, June and July totaling $273,125. On May 22, Lynx accelerated the debt and demanded full payment of the remaining balance of the $9.5 million loan.

The lawsuit names Nestor Cassini and her sister Peggy Nestor, who were previously accused of mismanaging Oleg Cassini’s businesses — Oleg Cassini Inc. and Cassini Parfums. The two have held the deed on the property since 1984, property records show.

To block other claims to the property, Lynx also named the estate of Oleg Cassini’s daughter Christina and Nassau County officials Jeffrey DeLuca and Brian Curran as defendants.

The five-story, 17,000-square-foot mansion has been at the center of a long-standing battle between Oleg Cassini’s relatives and his widow, Nestor Cassini. The two sides have competing claims over a portion of Oleg Cassini’s $60 million estate. The property, along with a Gramercy Park townhouse that Oleg Cassini owned, went on the market earlier this year, as Nestor Cassini served time in jail for defying a court order to hand over financial documents relating to her husband’s estate. The 63rd Street property, a Beaux Arts-style home also known as the Elias Asiel Mansion, was reportedly going to list for $50 million in March.

The case comes as authorities orchestrate a fire sale of Cassini’s assets. Earlier this week, Doyle Auctions announced a sale of the fashion designer’s estate. The auction, scheduled for June 27, will include 700 lots of luxury cars, artwork, memorabilia and furniture taken from Cassini’s Gramercy Park and Long Island homes. Highlights of the auction include a love letter from actress Grace Kelly, to whom Cassini was once engaged, and a signed letter from first lady Jacqueline Kennedy estimated to be worth between $10,000 to $15,000.

Meanwhile, a public auction of the Gramercy Park property earlier this week failed to attract any bidders. A minimum bid of $5 million was set for the auction. Aside from the purchase price, the winning bidder would also be responsible for the $3 million mortgage on the property.

Oleg Cassini is known for being Jacqueline Kennedy’s dressmaker during her early days as first lady. He was also known for his romantic connections to famous actresses, particularly Marilyn Monroe and Anita Ekberg. In the 1940s, he married actress Gene Tierney, with whom he had two children. He died in 2006 at the age of 92.

Pearl Shah, Lynx’s counsel, did not respond to a request for comment. A representative for Nestor Cassini could not immediately be reached.

Update: This story has been updated to clarify that Marianne Nestor Cassini and her sister Peggy Nestor have owned the property since 1984, according to property records. It has also been updated to clarify that Oleg Cassini’s business headquarters were housed in the mansion, per a New York Times article.