Press examinations into the Apthorp mess are coming fast and furious (the Times weighed in on the botched condo conversion of the Upper West Side landmark yesterday), but we've had our fill of the legal filings and boring lawyer quotes that most of these reports are based on. For real: One owner is suing another, that owner is in turn suing one of the project's lenders, and that lender is threatening to foreclose as soon as tomorrow. There are rabbis and rumors and bizarre twists galore. Can we get some freakin' dish, or what? Yes we can! The Observer's Max Abelson is all over the Apthorp mess today, turning out a story filled with all the crazy we can handle. Highlights:
Mann Realty president Jon Herbitter on Apthorp co-owner Lev Leviev's claims that Mann has mismanaged the building and let associates live there for free: "Bullshit. It's bullshit, it's bullshit. I'm not even going to justify that bullshit. It's bullshit. It is total bullshit, all right? Excuse me. It's bullshit."
Herbitter on how Leviev's Africa-Israel got involved in the Apthorp: "Four days before the closing, when you have $25 million fall out of your package, you have a lot of scrambling to replace it. So someone introduced us to them, and they saw the building on a Thursday. On Friday, they wired in $55 million without a term sheet, just saying, 'We want in.'"
A Civil Court judge's response to Herbitter's attempt to evict a rent-stabilized tenant over ants in her plants: "Mr. Harbitter—I’m sorry, Herbitter is the right name, not Harbitter, I’ll correct myself. Anytime I say Harbitter, I mean Herbitter. Mr. Herbitter ? was caught in several whopping inconsistencies."
This whole exchange right here: "According to Darryl Vernon, the ant lady's attorney, Mr. Herbitter showed up to one deposition with a gun on his belt. Tony Smith, the co-chairman of the Apthorp Tenants Association, once asked Mr. Herbitter about his much-gossiped-over firearm. 'I said, I'm told you carried a gun.' He said, 'Yes, I'm licensed to carry a gun.' I asked why and he said, 'I'm an EMT.'"
Herbitter on how the meltdown is affecting Apthorp lender Apollo Real Estate Advisors: "Apollo wouldn't be losing the money they’re losing and have to focus on minutiae. 'What toilets are we putting in?' they asked one day. It's ridiculous! Toilets!"
On Africa-Israel's reaction to that hilariously awful website: "they complained about an amateurish and embarrassing marketing campaign, especially a film about the building. (A segment of the movie is still on the building's Web site, and features strings out of late-’70s pornography and a woman purring, 'The Apthorp: A moment of passion that lasted a hundred years.') 'The film was done at a time when the market was different; the market was sexier,' Mr. Herbitter explained."
On the fate of the units' glam renovations: "'We're not renovating many of them,' Mr. Herbitter said, 'we're selling them now as is.'"
On the company the Apthorp's owners keep: "The investors took out a $385 million first mortgage from Anglo Irish Bank, which only three years earlier had done such little American work that its annual report apparently gave one sentence about the U.S. from its chairman. This December, the bank's CEO, David Drumm, and its chairman, Sean FitzPatrick, both resigned after regulators discovered that Mr. FitzPatrick had secretly transferred $120 million in personal loans. Anglo Irish, once the world's best-performing bank stock, is now effectively nationalized."
· The Apthorp as Waterloo [NYO]
· Apthorp coverage [Curbed]