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Judge tosses billionaire’s suit over $100M Upper East Side townhouse

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Warner Music exec Len Blavatnik sued art-world scion David Wildenstein in 2016 over a sour handshake deal

A Manhattan judge has tossed out Len Blavatnik’s lawsuit against art-world scion David Wildenstein, who the Warner Music exec says used his $79 million offer for a commercially zoned townhouse owned by the Wildensteins to harness a larger offer from a competing buyer, the Post reports.

Blavatnik sued Wildenstein in late 2016 over the sour $79 million handshake deal, alleging that Wildenstein’s tactics made him lose out on two business opportunities worth a combined $670 million. Per the billionaire’s suit, Blavatnik offered Wildenstein $79.9 million of the property’s $100 million asking price, to which Wildenstein agreed. But that deal fell apart as Wildenstein continued to push back the closing date, and he later allegedly told Blavatnik that he was unauthorized to sell the property without “board approval.”

Blavatnik’s suit sought a forced sale of the townhouse at 19 East 64th Street, or $10 million in reparations. But Manhattan judge Shirley Werner Kornreich was having none of it. “Your extraordinarily sophisticated and well-heeled client … relied on an oral telephone conversation,” Kornreich addressed Blavatnik’s attorney in court. “He clearly knows that is not sufficient for a deal.” Blavatnik’s attorney says he plans to appeal the decision.

The Gilded Age townhouse, built in 1932, has had an interesting history of late. In 2014, a deal to sell the property to the nation of Qatar for $90 million—poised to be the city’s priciest sale at the time—dissolved. It has been on and off the market, asking between $90 million and $100 million, for the past several years.