UPDATED May 25, 12:15 p.m.: What is he, some kinda wiseguy?
That’s what Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa wants to know about hedge fund titan Ray Dalio, according to the New York Times.
The neighbors are facing off over Dalio’s right to build a penthouse, deck and pergola rising up to 15 feet over the rooftop at 260 West Broadway in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Extension.
The project is above a sixth-floor apartment the billionaire hedge fund legend’s family has lived for years. Pignatelli, who lives next door, claims the weight of the structure is crushing his apartment and construction has endangered the structural integrity of the building.
“I’m Italian, Ray’s Italian, we’re neighbors!” Pignatelli, the Rome-born founder of Pier 59 Studios, told the Times. “We should be respecting each other and helping each other, but he’s incredibly arrogant.”
Nobody has been whacked over the issue, which Pignatelli said he discovered upon returning to his New York property in May 2021. Instead, the dispute has played out through polite, but persistent, text messages before a legal filing.
After a year of texting the co-op board president, Pignatelli filed a lawsuit in March 2022 against Dalio, several of his family members, the board of the building co-op and the president of the board.
Pignatelli’s assistant has chronicled the alleged damage, including a door no longer closing correctly, crumbling paint on his brick walls, cracks in the walls and tilting wood columns. A housekeeper once arrived at the apartment to find a large mirror panel in shards in the bathroom.
Pignatelli has felt more urgency for the case after a Lower Manhattan parking garage collapsed in April, killing one person. He believes the added structure on the roof posts a similar risk to the apartment building.
A spokesperson for the Department of Buildings told the Times the structure “did not fully comply” with plans the city approved, “but did not observe any structurally hazardous conditions.”
Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, has denied any wrongdoing.
“My sincere desire was to be generous with you,” he texted Pignatelli in a message viewed by the Times. “It’s clear that what you and I think is reasonable is irreconcilable so those in the legal system will be the judges.”
Dalio offered to hire a third-party inspector to assess the structure, but Pignatelli hired his own structural engineer, who found two of the eight steel connectors holding up Dalios’ deck were resting on timber columns within Pignatelli’s apartment.
After a complaint to 311 that the job was not up to code, an inspector issued an immediate stop work order.
The Department of Buildings found the work was not being done according to plans, a person familiar with the situation told The Real Deal. But a follow-up investigation in response to a complaint over the stop work order found no work was being done, meaning the order was not being violated.
— Harrison Connery
This article has been updated with additional information about an inspection into the stop work order.