When the 740 Park Avenue co-op belonging to Kent Swig hit the market for $32.5 million earlier this month, we speculated that the Era of Shitshows in the lawsuit-plagued developer's life might be coming to an end. The drama is far from overSwig and his wife, Liz, (pictured at right in 2008) the daughter of developer Harry Macklowe, are currently divorcingbut might Swig's real estate business be moving in a better direction? Sensing the winds of change, the Times takes the opportunity to look back and the rise and fall of Kent Swig in the New York real estate world. The article rehashes the entire saga, and unearths some fun new details. Here now, 10 fun facts we learned about Swig and his business in the 2,800-word piece:
1) In the sales office of the Exchange at 25 Broad Street, a building Swig was converting to condos in 2007, there were "regal portraits of Liz and Kent Swig, with plaques describing their fabulous lives. (The paintings were later destroyed when a pipe burst.)" Oh, what foreshadowing.
2) Real estate wasn't his plan, even though it's how his family made its fortune. "He studied Chinese history at Brown University, where he competed as a springboard diver, and then collected a law degree, planning to specialize in international law."
3) He and Liz Macklowe got engaged after knowing each other for just 15 days. They met accidentally, even though Papa Macklowe tried to set them up. "The night when the two were supposed to meet, each canceled — and then met by happenstance, that very same night, in line at the Saloon, a restaurant near Lincoln Center that has since closed."
4) One night in December 2009, in the depths of his decline, he may or may not have been "lying drunk on the floor of one of the bedrooms" in the 16-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue.
5) He takes credit for coining the nickname FiDi.
6) When Swig borrowed $200,000 from Macklowe to pay his lawyers in 2009, he also signed a postnuptial agreement with Liz that basically gave her everything should they divorce. "Ms. Swig would get both homes, while he would assume responsibility for the debts against the properties. She would also get almost $12 million in artwork, including works by Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami. Ms. Swig also declared sole ownership of $1.8 million in jewelry and $11 million worth of furnishings, including a $1,000 pig-shaped ashtray in the cigar room and a pair of Albert Cheuret sconces, circa 1925, which were valued at $100,000."
7) He still hasn't paid off his debts, but that doesn't seem like a big deal. "More than two years ago, after months of pushing and shoving among his creditors, Mr. Swig reached a settlement, agreeing to repay them by this spring or risk the forced sale of his remaining assets, which include stakes in a handful of buildings. He has paid about half of the outstanding principal that was due, and 'there is no contemplation of any forced asset sales,' according to a spokesman."
8) On the bright side, he settled the lawsuit brought by former partners Serge Hoyda and Yair Levy over the Sheffield in 2008. Hoyda and Levy thought Swig was stealing money from the project for his personal expenses, and Levy got so angry about it that he smacked Swig with an ice bucket. Ah, the memories.
9) He has been blogging since 2010.
10) Anddrumroll pleasehe's gunning for a comeback. "Mr. Swig, his spokesman said, is 'currently seeking real estate opportunities in which to invest and develop.'"
· With Fortune Falling, a 1 Percent Divorce [NYT]
· Kent Swig's blog [Wordpress]
· All Kent Swig coverage [Curbed]