Sutton Manor board sues over alleged foul water

Board claims it was prevented from installing proper equipment

411 East 53rd Street
411 East 53rd Street

Developers Stephen Perlbinder and his brother Barton Mark Perlbinder face a lawsuit from the condominium board at Sutton Manor for allegedly allowing a contaminated water supply in the building.

The board of managers at 401-411 East 53rd Street, also known as 966-974 First Avenue, filed a suit in the New York state Supreme Court today. According to the filing, the Perlbinders of Midtown East-based Perlbinder Realty Corporation refused to allow the board access to the main water meter, thus obstructing the installation of a backflow preventer device. The meter is located in the garage unit of the 20-story, 200-unit condominium building.

A backflower preventer device serves to remove any contamination in the water flowing from the plumbing system into the apartments. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection requires its installation. The suit said around half of Sutton Manor’s approximately 300 residents are senior citizens.

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The developers’ conduct “threatens serious additional harm, especially in the event that water service to the building’s premises is terminated as the DEP has warned may occur,” the board alleges.

The Perlbinders, who could not be immediately reached for comment, have also developed 330 West 56th Street, 400 East 54th Streetand 185 East 85th Street. In 2007, Barton Mark Perlbinder, Who Built Morgan Court at 211 Madison Avenue in 1987, decided to convert the 23 units he kept as rentals into condominiums, as The Real Deal reported at the time.

The nearly 230,000-square-foot Sutton Manor is part of the rent-to-own program, which allows potential buyers to lease a unit with the option of buying it later and putting a portion of the rent money towards the purchase price.