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Five tenants at 30 Lincoln Plaza filed suit May 5 in New York State Supreme Court against Milstein Properties alleging the firm previously sold condominium units to outside buyers at huge discounts, but refused to offer the same deals to existing residents, and now refuses to allow them to close on their purchase agreements, according to an article by David Jones today at therealdeal.com.

The suit alleges fraud, breach of contract and other claims against the developer, which owns the 33-story tower at 30 West 63rd Street, near Central Park, the article said, adding that the suit also "alleges that prior to the downturn Milstein had promised to sell apartments to existing tenants at 25 percent off the price offered to outside buyers, but the developer cut prices to outside buyers following the downturn and refused to offer additional cuts to the original tenants."

"According to the complaint, 46 bona-fide tenants at the building signed agreements to buy their apartments at an average price of $1,404 a square foot, while during the same period, 70 outside buyers signed agreements to buy apartments at $956 a square foot. After offering the discounts in 2007, the purchase period for tenants to buy their apartments at a 25 percent discount was extended four times until July 2008. The suit alleges that after the exclusive period for tenants to buy expired in 2008, the developer gave certain tenants special discounts of up to 50 percent, and tried to conceal the arrangement by identifying the buyers as outside buyers. The suit also alleges these tenants were given apartment upgrades and closing costs were waived," the article said.

The suit, the article continued, "claims that the tenants in the current lawsuit have purchase agreements they want to close, but that Milstein is refusing to renovate some of the units and is preventing them from closing because he can sell the units at higher prices on the open market."

In October 2009, former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office reached a $100,000 settlement with Milstein over allegations that the company failed to disclose the price reductions in an amendment to the condominium offering plan, according to the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, the developer neither admitted nor denied guilt, the article said, adding that Milstein officials declined to comment as did officials at the AG's office.
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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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