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Harlem Developer Sues Homeowners for Complaining

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A Harlem developer has sued three residents of 1831 Madison Avenue for defamation and interference after the residents wrote a letter complaining about the building's shoddy construction and repairs, got 70 other residents of the building to sign it, and sent it to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and various politicians, the Daily News reports.

The lawsuit was filed by Madison Park Development Associates, headed by BFC Partners managing principal Don Capoccia, who has also had a somewhat antagonistic relationship with buyers at his Downtown Brooklyn project Toren, as well as... well, most of the people he seems to come in contact with. (Capoccia told The Real Deal in 2008, "There isn't a more anti-development city in the world than New York. Once a New Yorker gets his or her housing situation worked out, it's basically, 'Fuck everyone else.'") He claims that the residents of 1831 Madison — a city-subsidized co-op designated for middle-income New Yorkers — that drafted the letter are just trying to get improvements for their own apartments. His lawsuit seeks a $1.25 million judgment as well as $1 million from each defendant.

The residents, on the other hand, claim that are trying to get improvements — improvements like non-leaking ceilings, which they say have been a problem since the building was constructed in 2002 with city financing. (And since Capoccia used non-union contractors on the allegedly poorly constructed building, he's now in it with the unions, too.) As for the residents, they seem a little stunned by the $4.25 million suit. Said one, a retired legal secretary: "I can't fight him and I can't win. All I ever wanted was a safe, clean home. That is what the city promised me and that is all I have ever asked for. I don't even sleep at night now. I'm on social security. What does he want? $1 million? How am I going to get $1 million?"
· EXCLUSIVE: Harlem homeowners hit back at 'rich, powerful' real estate developer who slapped them with $4.5M lawsuit [NYDN]
· Don Capoccia coverage [Curbed]