Sean Ludwick free after 5 years in prison for fatal DWI crash

Developer’s Hudson Rise project still mired in litigation

New York /
Feb.February 16, 2022 03:57 PM
Sean Ludwick with Hudson Rise at 470 11th Avenue (LinkedIn, iStock, Google Maps)

Sean Ludwick with Hudson Rise at 470 11th Avenue (LinkedIn, iStock, Google Maps)

Sean Ludwick, the self-destructive developer  who went to prison five years ago for a drunken-driving fatality in the Hamptons, has been released on parole.

And as he returns to a life marred by controversy, Ludwick’s long-stalled project  in the Hudson Yards area may be turning a page as well.

The 49-year-old BlackHouse Development founder was released in January from the Otisville Correctional Facility in Orange County, according to state prison records. He was paroled after serving five years of a three-to-nine-year sentence for the fatal crash that killed his friend, Douglas Elliman real estate broker Paul Hansen, in the summer of 2015.

Barring any major disciplinary problems, Ludwick was automatically eligible for parole once he served two-thirds of his sentence, a state Department of Corrections spokesperson said. Ludwick could not be reached for comment.

The hard-partying developer was drunk when he crashed his Porsche 911 into a utility pole outside Hansen’s Sag Harbor home. The driver-side airbag deployed and Ludwick survived, but Hansen’s body was ejected from the car and hit the pole.

Ludwick left Hansen on the side of the road and drove away from the scene before he was stopped and arrested by police.

But the developer — who already had a rap sheet that included charges he assaulted his girlfriend and harassed a former flame — couldn’t get out of his own way.

At one court hearing, the developer reportedly counted stacks of cash, showing little concern for the grieving members of Hansen’s family in attendance.

After posting a $1 million bond, Ludwick appeared to plan to flee justice by buying a boat in Puerto Rico that could sail to South America. His sailing instructor tipped off the FBI and Ludwick was arrested again.

He pleaded guilty in 2017 to aggravated vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Only then did he take responsibility for Hansen’s death  and apologize to the victim’s family. “I own the problem,” he said in court.

Court records show he applied for parole in 2018 but was denied. A report from the parole board said that Ludwick showed a lack of remorse for his actions, explaining he gave inconsistent answers regarding his role in Hansen’s death. The report noted that while in prison, Ludwick was cited for fighting with a member of the Bloods gang — an incident he described as self defense.

Hansen’s widow, Catherine, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2015, which court records show the two sides settled in 2018.

Ludwick, a Long Island native, launched BlackHouse in 2007 and developed properties including the 56-room Hotel Americano in West Chelsea.

In 2013 he teamed up with former partners Saif Sumaida and Ashwin Verma, who left BlackHouse to found the development firm Siras Development, to develop a 242-room luxury hotel at 470 11th Avenue dubbed Hudson Rise.

Ludwick owned a one-sixth interest in the property, which the partners purchased along with Chinese developer Kuafu Properties in 2014 for $62 million.

But the project ran into troubles, including tabloid reports in 2014 that Ludwick entered his ex-girlfriend’s Tribeca home and drew penises on artwork he had made.

In 2015, Siras sued Kuafu  for breach of contract and won. The case is now on appeal and sources said the two sides are working toward a settlement.

Representatives for Siras and Kuafu did not respond to requests for comment.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Elad Group's Isaac Tshuva and1299 Third Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)
    Elad picks up shovel-ready UES development site
    Elad picks up shovel-ready UES development site
    Charles Cohen of Cohen Brothers Realty Corporation with 975 Anderson Hill Road in Rye Brook, NY (Google Maps, Wikipedia)
    Charles Cohen eyeing Rye Brook redevelopment
    Charles Cohen eyeing Rye Brook redevelopment
    Patrick Nelson of Nelson Partners Student Housing and the Skyloft Austin (Nelson Partners Student Housing, STG Design, iStock)
    Languishing student housing firm on the hook for $50M
    Languishing student housing firm on the hook for $50M
    (iStock, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)
    As lawmakers race to electrify buildings, industry pushes back
    As lawmakers race to electrify buildings, industry pushes back
    Gov. Kathy Hochul (Getty, iStock)
    With 421a dying, apartment project financing “has come to a stop”
    With 421a dying, apartment project financing “has come to a stop”
    Madison Realty Capital's  Zach Kadden with 364 Bay Street (LinkedIn, Loopnet)
    Madison Realty Capital plans 100 small apartments, a NYC rarity
    Madison Realty Capital plans 100 small apartments, a NYC rarity
    From left: Developer Bruce Teitelbaum and Durst Organization CEO Douglas Durst and 44-02 Vernon Boulevard (Getty Images, LoopNet, iStock)
    “A tremendous ordeal”: Lawyers in $97M Durst buyout slam case
    “A tremendous ordeal”: Lawyers in $97M Durst buyout slam case
    Dynamic Star's Brad Zackson; 23-10 Queens Plaza South (Queens) and 301 West Fordham Road (Bronx) (Google Maps, Dynamic Star)
    Brad Zackson’s Dynamic Star borrows $115M for Bronx, LIC projects
    Brad Zackson’s Dynamic Star borrows $115M for Bronx, LIC projects
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...