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January 14, 2016- by Steven E. Greer
Howard Milstein is one of three partners who own the large apartment buildings at 200, 377, and 380 Rector Place. Each building has approximately 500 apartments. Approximately 40% of those have been kept as rental units ever since they were constructed in the 1980’s.
Last year, Milstein’s two partners, Michael Nelsen and Ivan Goodstein, successfully sued to remove Howard Milstein as the managing partner of the buildings (Cara Associates vs. Milstein 651726/2015). They seek to sell the rental units and Milstein opposes that.
Milstein appealed and the oral arguments were heard today in the court house at 27 Madison Avenue. Three of the five judges spoke and seemed to be skeptical of the Milstein legal team. Therefore, the lower judge’s decision could likely stand.
Since the entire goal of the lawsuit was to remove Milstein in order to sell the rental units, Battery Park City could see another mass exodus, as was seen on North End Avenue at 22 and 41 River Terrace back in 2014. More than a thousand people, with children going to the great public schools in the area, could be forced out as the new owners of the building flip the apartments into condos.
What could delay this change in ownership is another appeal by Milstein. In court today, his lawyers promised more legal action if they lost this appeal. Also, a federal lawsuit against Milstein alleges that the condominium status of the buildings was obtained fraudulently, since the New York Attorney General was never informed of the plan to keep 40% of the buildings rental forever. That could also throw a wrench into the plans to sell the apartments.