Investors in Scribner mansion sue seller after $22.5M deal

Oliver Bivins went ahead with deal without their knowledge or consent, suit states

From left: The Scribner mansion at 39 East 67th Street And 808 Lexington Avenue
From left: The Scribner mansion at 39 East 67th Street And 808 Lexington Avenue

A week after the iconic Scribner mansion on the Upper East Side traded hands for $22.5 million, five investors who claim to have a stake in the property are suing the seller for allegedly doing the deal without their knowledge or consent.

The investors — Jedediah and Zachary Turner, Erik Schafer, Edward Kuhnel and Alex de Bie together with 39E67th LLC – are suing the seller Oliver Bivins II in New York Supreme Court. They claim that Bivins breached an agreement in which they were entitled to a 20 percent ownership stake.

They further claim that they didn’t know about the sale or give their consent, and are suing for $4.5 million plus interest and damages.

Bivins had owned the property — as well as an Upper East Side property at 808 Lexington Avenue and other buildings in Florida and the United Kingdom— since March 2011, when his mother Lorna passed away and left him her estate.

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Under Bivins’ leadership, however, the buildings fell into disrepair, the plaintiffs allege.

The five investors paid off the defaulted mortgage on The 808 Lexington Avenue building, which was later transferred to Bivins’ father. In return, the plaintiffs were promised 20 percent ownership of the Scribner mansion.

In 2013, the plaintiffs agreed to a deal in which they would co-own the mansion with Bivins through an entity called 39E67th LLC. The title of the building, however, was never transferred to reflect the new ownership structure, the lawsuit alleges.

The 9,444-square-foot mansion had been in the same hands for more than 50 years before Bivins sold it earlier this month to an unidentified buyer, as The Real Deal reported. The house is currently split into four full-floor apartments, but a new buyer could turn it into a single-family home. A doctor’s office occupies the ground floor.