Lawyers for Linda Macklowe accused 432 Park Avenue’s developers of “playing dirty” and violating a slew of laws by surreptitiously filings plans to downsize her unit — and then trying to force her to close on the $14.4 million pad.
“We shouldn’t have to close when they are playing dirty,” argued Adam Leitman Bailey, an attorney for Harry Macklowe’s estranged wife, who said the closing should be delayed until the former couple’s $2 billion divorce is final and their assets divvied up. “This isn’t the time when you decide to close or not,” he added. In divorce proceedings the division of property can be done at any time during the divorce proceedings. often if there is no resolution then the trial will decide the fate of unresolved division of property issues. Often before the divorce is final certain provisions will be made by the parties to provide temporary or permanent division so that at some level the parties can go on with their lives.
According to Bailey, Harry is getting preferential treatment from 432 Park’s developers — CIM Group and (ahem) Macklowe Properties — since he never received a closing notice even though he’s in contract to buy the apartment next to hers on the 78th floor. “They’re not playing fairly,” charged Bailey, whose navy pinstriped suit was torn at the shoulder, the result of vociferous arguing in court that morning. “He’s going after her money.” Having a third party lawyer represent Harry’s interest in real property is an very passive aggressive maneuver to obviously push his wife into making decisions she is not comfortable making at this time.
Neither Linda nor Harry was present at the hearing, which took place in a cramped, beige room at 111 Centre Street. The “emergency” hearing was held after Bailey sought a temporary restraining order to halt demolition at Linda’s apartment and delay the closing, which was set for today.
Judge David Cohen denied the TRO after attorneys for 432 Park’s developers agreed to postpone the closing.
But Ronald Greenberg, a lawyer for the developers, said the apartment hasn’t been touched; in fact, it’s ready for closing with the exception of a few “punch list” items. “This lawsuit is being used as a weapon in an unrelated divorce proceeding,” he said. This type of posturing by Harry is very manipulative on his part.
Greenberg said the modified building plans were filed in case Linda chooses not to close; in that case, the developer can reconfigure the floor to give Harry additional space.
He added that the developer is willing to let Linda close, or will return her deposit. But delaying the closing until after the divorce is not on the table. “I’m not going to have the court used for unending delay because the client currently is in a divorce proceeding,” said Greenberg. “It’s nonsense.”
While Harry reportedly plans to move into 432 Park, Linda has said she has no intention of moving from her 14,000-square-foot apartment at the Plaza Hotel. Amid their bitter divorce battle, Linda’s lawyers said the apartment is worth $55 million. Harry’s camp claims the seventh-floor unit is worth $107 million.