The co-op board at the famed Dakota on Central Park West did not take kindly to being called racist by a resident (and former board president) who filed a scandalous lawsuit after being prevented from buying an additional apartment in the building. The board issued a statement denying the allegations made by prominent African-American investor Alphonse Fletcher Jr., but the Dakotans were saving the real firepower for the courtroom. The board filed a 237-page response in State Supreme Court detailing why Fletcher's application was rejected, the Times reports. Their argument: The problem isn't that he's black, it's that he's poor. Relative to the other residents of the palaces lining Central Park, that is. And he's also a tad dishonest! Let's cut to the juicy parts:
Although Mr. Fletcher is a well-known investor, the board, citing tax returns, bank records and other documents that he submitted when applying to buy the $5.7 million apartment, called his statement of net worth “highly unrealistic.” It also said the money Mr. Fletcher claimed to manage was “greatly inflated” because his firm, Fletcher Asset Management, double-counted its assets, which Mr. Fletcher said was $429 million, according to the court filing. And because the firm reported a cumulative net loss from 2007 to 2009, the Dakota’s finance committee called the value that Mr. Fletcher put on his business “not credible.”
Mr. Fletcher’s annual mortgage payments — he also owns two smaller units at the Dakota, at 1 West 72nd Street and bought his mother an apartment there in 2001 — are about $1.5 million, yet his tax returns show his annual income is far less, the papers said. In 2008, Mr. Fletcher reported an adjusted gross income of $674,000.
The board also was concerned that Mr. Fletcher supplied information through an accounting firm that appeared to be independent but was actually run by one of his employees. The response questioned whether Mr. Fletcher could afford another apartment when his total annual maintenance cost would rise to $228,873 and renovations would cost $1 million to $2 million.