A new lawsuit filed by the parents of late Skylight Studios CEO Jennifer Blumin accuses her East Village landlord of collecting rent from her account after her shocking death.
Deborah and Stuart Blumin filed the suit on Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court. The couple alleges landlord Steven Gold (not the Corcoran agent of the same name) and Keyland NY LLC continued collecting rent at 203 East 13th Street after Jennifer, her boyfriend and two young children died in a plane crash.
According to the lawsuit, the landlord terminated the lease and canceled rent after the tragedy, only asking that the apartment be vacated, which the suit claims was done in 11 days. From there, the suit alleges, Gold rented the apartment out for photo shoots and illegal short-term rentals.
The suit alleges the unit’s $17,000 monthly rent was automatically withdrawn from Jennifer’s account after her death. The suit claims Gold refused to return three months of rent, the previous month’s rent and the security deposit, saying the lease was not terminated and Jennifer’s estate was liable for rent until the lease expired.
The lease was scheduled to go from April 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, according to the suit. Jennifer and her children were presumed dead in mid-May 2017 after plane debris was found near the Bahamas; their bodies were never found.
The lawsuit claims that Jennifer’s bank account was frozen months after her death, in part to stop the automatic rent payments.
The lawsuit also claims that Gold was sued by the condominium in 2019 for the alleged illegal use of the unit. That case was ultimately settled.
The Blumins are seeking a monetary judgment in their favor with the amount to be determined at trial. They are also seeking exemplary damages, statutory penalties, attorney fees, costs and disbursements.
In a statement to the New York Post, the Blumins called the landlord’s actions “appalling.”
A representative for Gold told the Post the family has his “deepest personal sympathies,” but did not comment on the allegations in the suit.
“As per the legal case, I will explain my view of the situation directly to the court not through the media,” the representative said.
Blumin was the founder and CEO of Skylight Group, a high-profile events business. After her death, a fundraising campaign launched to add a memorial bench to the Hudson River Park quickly surpassed its $47,000 goal.