Jill, Harry Karman sue Upper East Side neighbor over unfinished renovation

They claim the house next door “is more reminiscent of Detroit circa the 1980s than Manhattan's Upper East Side today."

National Weekend Edition /
Nov.November 20, 2021 09:00 AM

Upper East Side power couple Harry and Jill Kargman (Getty Images, Google Maps/Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Upper East Side couple Harry and Jill Kargman sued their neighbor over a years-long brownstone renovation that liken to Detroit four decades ago.

Harry Karman, an advertising executive whose wife is an author and actress, filed suit in state court last week, according to Patch. The padlocked Lenox Hill property, surrounded by construction fencing, is “attracting homeless people, garbage, rodents, dirt and debris,” the suit said, and “is more reminiscent of Detroit circa the 1980s than Manhattan’s Upper East Side today.”

The unfinished brownstone is owned by Michael Mass, who operates a dental office out of the first two stories of the building. He began the renovation in 2016, aiming to add two stories and live there.

Work has been slow if not nonexistent — the suit claims that recent city inspections found the project was “0% complete,” prompting a stop-work order.

Mass’s attorney also allegedly said last July that he had scrapped his plans to renovate the property.

What little work has been done has disrupted the Kargman household, the suit alleges. The Kargmans, who are seeking $225,000 in damages and an order to finish the project, claim that workers repairing the foundation broke through a wall on their property in 2016.

The dueling neighbors agreed in 2019 that Mass would pay the Karmans $1,500 a week for every week the renovation lasted. That sum was eventually bumped up to $5,000 a week. The Kargmans claim in their suit that Mass hasn’t paid most of those fees.

[Patch] — Dennis Lynch





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