By God, you can’t sell that co-op: Church sues to stop deal
Metropolitan New York Synod objects to pastor’s $2M sale
UPDATED, March 28, 2022, 10:30 a.m.: The afterlife of 108 East 82nd Street unit 7C may be brief.
In a litigious if not sacrilegious saga, the church that claims to own the seven-room co-op is suing the pastor and the brokerages who thought they had sold it for more than $2 million.
The Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America sued Douglas Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens and Pastor Gregory Fryer of the Immanuel Lutheran Church after the cleric signed a contract to sell the Upper East Side apartment.
The chronicle dates back to 1993, when the church provided Fryer with a “parsonage” in the pre-war building, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in Manhattan. That agreement put the title of the apartment in Fryer’s name, despite the church being the beneficial owner.
But when Fryer found a buyer for the apartment three decades later, the Synod claimed it had not approved the transaction.
It also alleges the sale violates the Religious Corporations Law, which requires religious corporations seeking to sell, mortgage or lease properties for more than five years to receive approval from the attorney general or Supreme Court.
The church says if the court does not stop the defendants from transferring the title to the apartment, the consequences would be, well, ungodly.
“Money damages alone will not repair the damage that would be done if defendants transfer title to the apartment,” its lawsuit said.
The unit has a separate wing with three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, along with an eat-in kitchen with granite countertops, a formal dining room with built-in bookshelves, high beamed ceilings and hardwood floors.
Residents can get closer to God on the building’s planted roof deck — or to his devilish counterpart in the basement’s private storage space and bike room.
Douglas Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens and Fryer declined to comment.
This article has been updated with comment from the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.