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Arlene Farkas's Embattled River House Co-op May Finally Sell

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Nobody should count their chickens yet, but the River House duplex owned by Arlene Farkas is in contract for $8.95 million. Farkas, the apparently unwitting ex-wife of polygamist department store heir Bruce Farkas, has been trying to unload the pad for years after winning it over in a drawn-out battle. Now, for the sale to go through, the River House's notoriously picky co-op board needs to approve of its buyer, the Observer reports.

A judge awarded Arlene Farkas the 14-room, 5,000-square-foot apartment in 1996, but Bruce Farkas (who hadn't lived there since 1990) wasn't on board with the concession. In 2007, Ms. Farkas was given the right to sell, according to the Real Deal, though the Observer reports it was put on the market in 2003. Regardless of when either of those things happened, it, of course, wasn't the end of it.

At one point, the co-op was listed for $15 million, but that never got anywhere. The French Ambassador to the United Nations tried to snag it for $7.8 million, but the co-op board upended that sale. In 2014, it was listed for $8 million. Ms. Farkas apparently owes over $6 million in mortgage payment defaults that nearly sent the home into foreclosure, but a last-minute bankruptcy filing stopped that.

Here we are, not three months until the end of 2015, and the home is under contract for $8.95 million with Douglas Elliman. Will the co-op board that, back in the day, supposedly denied approval to actress Joan Crawford, say yes to this latest buyer? According to the Observer, the board is trying to seem friendlier. So, that could bode well for this sale. "Really it's in everyone's best interest that she sell the space," one broker told the Observer.

—Evan Bindelglass is a local freelance journalist, photographer, cinephile, and foodie. You can e-mail him, follow him on Twitter @evabin, or check out his personal blog.
· Arlene Farkas' River House Duplex Finds Another Buyer…But Will the Board Approve? [Observer]
· River House, 435 East 52nd Street, 4/5E [Douglas Elliman]
· All Arlene Farkas coverage [Curbed]

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