After battle with Becker, gallery owner sells Tribeca pad

Following years of litigation, Valerie Dillon got $4.5M for her unit at 465 Washington Street

Valerie Dillon and Arthur Becker with 465 Washington
Valerie Dillon and Arthur Becker with 465 Washington (Getty, Street Easy)

A Tribeca apartment at the center of a long-running legal fight between its former tenant and a developer has traded hands.

Gallery owner Valerie Dillon sold her condo at 465 Washington Street for $4.5 million to buyers Patrick Egeonu and Olaolu Aganga, according to city property records filed Tuesday.

Dillon and developer Arthur Becker spent years in court battling over the property, as he sought to convert the building into an eight-unit boutique condo project with a projected sellout of $52.5 million. The dispute stemmed from Dillon’s interest in reacquiring her apartment once the project was completed.

Dillon initially bought the building’s entire third floor from developer Peter Moore in 2007 for $1.5 million. She later invested another $300,000 into renovating the space. Dillon then secured a 20 percent interest in 465 Project LLC, the entity that owned the property, from Moore in 2009. But Moore struggled to make his loan payments and ultimately forfeited his interests in that entity to Dillon and another tenant, giving them control of the building.

Becker offered to buy Dillon’s stake in the property in 2012 in an effort to complete his condo project. Dillon agreed to sell her 50 percent stake in the building to Becker, in exchange for buying back her apartment in the converted condo for $50,000.

The condo conversion project was set to be completed in 2015, but things did not progress smoothly, according to a lawsuit filed by Dillon in February 2021 in which she sought to obtain the right and title to her old apartment. The project had yet to be completed when the complaint was filed.

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Becker allegedly told Dillon that construction would begin in 2013, but by 2019, it hadn’t, according to the lawsuit. Dillon accused Becker of shopping for another buyer for the building rather than attempting to finish the project. By not finishing it within a certain time frame, Dillon accused Becker and his firm, Madison 465 W, of violating their agreement and that they “deliberately delayed satisfying their obligations.”

Dillon also accused Becker of making “strategic delays” to the condo project and alleged that an offering plan filed with the New York Attorney General’s office in October 2020 eliminated her option to buy back the apartment and permitted the developer to sell the unit to another buyer.

“The complaint speaks for itself,” Dillon’s attorney Michael Hanin of Kasowitz Benson Torres said at the time. “Our client is legally entitled to the third floor apartment at 465 Washington Street, and looks forward to her day in court.”

Becker’s attorney, Kevin Fritz of Meister Seelig & Fein, disputed Dillon’s claims at the time, saying that her allegation “is belied by the record and defies common sense.” Fritz said similar claims in a previous lawsuit brought by Dillon were dismissed, in which she submitted an affidavit “acknowledging that any exercise of the option could be rejected by Mr. Becker.”

Becker filed to dismiss the complaint in March 2021. Both parties reached an initial settlement agreement in July 2021, and the deal was finalized and approved by a judge in January.

Fritz declined to comment on the terms of the settlement. Dillon’s attorney had yet to respond when reached for comment.

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