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Carter's View

U. S. District Court Judge George Daniels yesterday ordered the immediate release of $16 million in escrow deposits at the Upper West Side's Rushmore condominium at 80 Riverside Boulevard, after rejecting a temporary restraining order request by Extell Development and Carlyle Realty Partners, according to an article by David Jones at

The developers, operating under the name CRP/Extell, filed suit earlier this month to overturn an April ruling by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, arguing that they were denied due process rights because they were not allowed to cross-examine the 41 buyers, who are seeking their money back, under oath.

The escrow deposits involved about $110 million in contracts to purchase apartments at the Rushmore.

Daniels questioned the lawyers for the developers as to "what specific evidence they didn't have that would require depositions or additional discovery in court," the article said.

Lawyers for the development group, it continued, argued that they wanted to question whether the buyers relied on a Sept. 1, 2008 deadline in the Rushmore offering plan before invoking the missed deadline in order to get their deposits back.

Lawyers for the Attorney General argued that they asked CRP/Extell for evidence of an actual typo, and no evidence was provided. The judge asked lawyers for CRP/Extell whether the original authors of the offering plan, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, would come forward with evidence that a typo did occur, and they said that Stroock was in a "bad position" because of the error and would likely require a subpoena to turn over any evidence.

CRP/Extell has maintained for months that a "scrivenor's error," or typo, led it to mistakenly offer rescission to the buyers if they failed to close the first contract by Sept. 1, 2008, instead of 12 months later on Sept. 1, 2009, which is what they say they really intended.

The judge disputed the contention that there was a "scrivenor's error" but said if there was any error it was a unilateral error, because the lawyers did not negotiate the offering plan with anyone before it was presented.

The judge also asked assistant AG Andrew Meier whether any drafts were submitted during the 14-month review, and he replied that there was an earlier draft with a Feb. 1, 2008 first closing and rescission date, with no 12-month window included.

"We're pleased that the judge saw through the plaintiff's dubious arguments to bring them to the federal court and dismissed all of the claims and ordered the immediate release of the escrow funds," said Richard Cohen, attorney for 33 of the 41 buyers, according to the article, which added that lawyers for the AG and for the developers declined to comment.

The Rushmore is the 41-story, twin-towered residential condominium development at 80 Riverside Boulevard that occupies the blockfront between 64th and 63rd Streets.

It is across 64th Street from The Avery, a 30-story condominium development and both are projects of the Extell Development Corporation on land it acquired from Donald Trump, who has developed several residential towers just to the north.

The Rushmore was designed by Costas Kondylis and Partners, the architectural firm that has also designed the Avery and many of Mr. Trump's projects.

The Rushmore has a 16-story base with corner windows at the north and south and a setback at the 4th floor in the center of the blockfront. The twin towers are setback and are joined at the lower three floors.

The 425-foot-high Rushmore has 289 one- to five-bedroom apartments.

The building has a swimming pool, La Palestrina Fitness and Wellness Services, a 185-car garage, a children's playroom designed by Kidville, NY, a billiards room, Abigail Michaels concierge, a bicycle room, and a theater and entertainment suite.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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