Hell’s Kitchen condo residents are rebelling against its ‘creepy’ boss
New York Post
By Christopher Cameron
11 November 2018

Daniel Neiditch posing in 635 W 42nd St.
Christian Johnston

Enraged residents of a Hell’s Kitchen condo are rebelling against the flashy building boss who they claim has turned the luxe tower into an illegal, short-term rental “gulag.”

Daniel Neiditch’s firm, River to River Realty, is not just the exclusive Realtor for the Atelier, located 635 W. 42nd St., he is also the building’s manager and 10-year-long board president.

Owners accuse Neiditch of using his power to run the building like a Mafioso, organizing a large-scale illegal Airbnb racket with other board members, and threatening and intimidating residents who have stood in his way, according to a draft lawsuit, to be filed this week in Manhattan Supreme Court, obtained by the Post.

“He called me ‘gray hair bitch,’” says condo owner Eugenia Elliott, who was fined $2,500 for “incitement of violence” by the board, she says for running an 88-strong Atelier residents’ WhatsApp group organized to combat the short-term rental epidemic in the building. “I’m a 70-year-old grandmother of four.”

“It’s the kookiest place,” says Tanya Helfand, a divorce attorney who bought a pied--terre in February. “It’s like a Fellini movie here.”

Helfand says that immediately after she purchased her apartment it was clear that foreign tourists and even bachelorette parties were overrunning the 46-story tower. But instead of addressing the problem by having the doorman ID residents, she says Neiditch threatened her and admitted to “watching” her via the building’s security-camera system.

“I am a single woman and it’s pretty damn creepy,” she says. “He scares people. I filed a harassment report with the police.”

On Oct. 12, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, which has been cracking down on short-term rentals across the city, raided the 475-unit building and issued 33 violations for illegal Airbnbs, according to summonses reviewed by The Post. Residents, who have made over 100 complaints to the city’s 311 hotline, according to public records, say those units were just the tip of the iceberg and that more tourists arrived luggage in tow the very same day. Even the building’s cleaning service has been transformed into a turn-down service for the short-term rentals, residents say.

“Daniel Neiditch, the President of the Atelier Board of Managers, usurped the Board, and together with the other named Defendants, have collectively engaged in a complex illegal transient rental enterprise at the Atelier,” the draft lawsuit states.

The raid rattled some of the alleged illegal landlords as piles of mattresses, furniture and room partitions appeared in the Dumpster behind the building following the raid.

Neiditch, who did not return requests for comment, did not receive a summons. Through his lawyer, he now claims to not own any units in the building – despite acting as its president and telling The Post in May he owned multiple units.

Board members who own units were slapped with violations, including Taj Khan and Margret Chen. Two other owners, entities called Yin and Yang Construction and White Glove Corporate Cleaning — both represented by a lawyer who has also represented Neiditch — also received summonses.

“I’m not going to say that Neiditch is pocketing [the Airbnb] money,” said Helfand. But, citing his prominent role in the Atelier and the apparent river of illegal Airbnb money flooding through the building, she said, “if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.”

Roman Gambourg, a member of the Atelier’s condo board, told The Post the board denies any “illegal short-term rental operation,” and that “a handful of disgruntled unit owners have made it their hobby to complain to 311 in a false attempt to discredit the board.”

635 West 42nd Street in Manhattan
Angel Chevrestt

“There have been owners that have also been physically assaulted only for the fact [that] they had a suitcase when they walked into the building,” Gambourg said.

Gambourg also claims that the building’s condo board is in fact “on the front line” of fixing the Airbnb problem and has pledged to fully eradicate “any and all Airbnb activity from the Atelier Condo no later than April 30, 2019.”

But the draft lawsuit paints a different picture, accusing Neiditch of “bullying” tactics that have made life in the building “akin to a 1920s Gulag instead of a white-glove luxury building.”
“The resident’s property values are being tremendously reduced by this illegal short-term rental operation,” Massimo D’Angelo, a partner in the law firm of Adam Lietman Baily, the firm filing the lawsuit, told The Post. “It’s so egregious.”

D’Angelo says he will explore civil RICO claims and criminal charges with the DA.

This is not Neidtich’s first brush with real-estate scandal.

This summer, The Post revealed that his $85 million, 24-room, 15,000-square-foot penthouse listing at the Atelier – which promises an instant oligarch lifestyle, including a 75-foot yacht, house in the Hamptons, dinner for two at Daniel for a year, a Rolls Royce and even a trip to outer space — was in fact nothing more than a dozen modest rental apartments which Neidtich claimed he planned to combine into one after the sale.

“No one is spending tens of millions of dollars to live here — the carpets are dirty from all the foot traffic,” Helfand says. “It’s a nice building but it ain’t that nice. I think it’s part of his BS routine.”

Back in 2015, Neiditch was slapped with a $1 million lawsuit after his bodyguard allegedly punched a nightclub manager. At the time, he was making reservations using the surname “Bloomberg,” according to the lawsuit.

And in 2009, The Post reported that anonymous residents of the Atelier took to the web after the tragic suicide of the building’s resident manager, accusing Neiditch of “lies, cover-ups, scams [and] tyranny.”

New York City Raids Condo Building in Crackdown on Airbnb Rentals

The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the short-term rental problems in the condo building.

top   contents   appendix   previous   next