A four-story townhouse at 149 East 29th Street that is at the center of a messy legal battle has become a haven for squatters, according to one of the parties vying for ownership. The house was owned by dermatologist Dr. Gerald Arthur from 1967 until his death in 2011. But while his lawyer, Jo Anne Simon, contends that Arthur had her draw up papers specifying that he wanted to house to be placed in a trust and the proceeds from the sale donated to charity, Arthur's live-in partner, David Reyes, is claiming that the house was supposed to go to him and has filed a lawsuit.
In court, Simon has alleged that Reyes moved out of the house in April of 2013 to undergo a medical procedure and left a faucet running on the top floor, flooding the house with 90,000 gallons of water, and that she spent $50,000 to fix some of the damage before being blocked from entering the home. She also claims that homeless squatters settled in the yard and basement in September, and set fire to building. Reyes, for his part, accuses Simon of hiding Arthur's will in which he is named as the sole beneficiary to the estate.
The last single-family townhouse to sell in Kips Bay was a three-story (in, presumably, far better condition) that went for $5.8 million in September of 2013.
· Tony Town House in Kips Bay Has Become a Refuge for Squatters, Lawsuit Says [DNAinfo]