Back when faltering Icelandic businessman Jon Asgeir Johannesson was flying high, he and his headline-grabbing wife (in Iceland, anyway) Ingibjorg Palmadottir decided to double-dip at 50 Gramercy Park North?the luxury co-op addition built into the Gramercy Park Hotel by Ian Schrager under the guidance of minimalist British architect John Pawson. Already the owners of a $10 million full-floor unit, the couple paid $14 million cash for a 7,000-square-foot duplex penthouse in the building (including a buyout of the guy who already had the contract). Then the Bjork hit the fan, and the foreigners tried to divest, listing the penthouse for $25 million. It vanished from the market without selling, and the couple ended up renting out their 16th-floor apartment last year for $312,000 to the Paramount Realty Group. We know this because, the Daily News reports, Paramount is now suing its former landlords for a bunch of reasons, including cut corners like the installation of a kitchen from Ikea, "which is generally known to offer low budget furniture." Oh my.
According to the lawsuit, "The kitchen installed was not reasonably satisfactory...as it did not rise to the level of a kitchen suitable for a property located at 50 Gramercy Park North. The kitchen has also been a source of embarrassment for Plaintiff and the subject of remarks by guests." How rude! So did the Icelanders plan on doing their own fancy renovation, only to run out of cash? Did they take the Water Taxi to Red Hook? The mind swirls with possibilities. Oh yeah, the other complaints! The News writes:
The suit says the couple also left behind faulty air conditioning, a cracked window, missing shower parts and missing appliances. It charges that in July 2009, Paramount's guests suffered the indignity of chewed-up chicken wings being dropped onto their 16th-floor terrace from the couple's duplex above.
The terraces at the luxury building are about 2,000 square feet. Paramount is seeking $52,000 in damages.
At least now we know what makes Icelandic moguls tick: Exclusive real estate, Swedish particleboard and delicious chicken wings. In the end, maybe we're all not so different.
· Posh Icelandic couple sued for putting IKEA kitchen in swank Gramercy Park Hotel pad [NYDN]
· 50 Gramercy Park North [Official Site]