Posted by Jonathan J. Miller -Tuesday, February 7, 2012, 10:00 AM
A number of years ago, my appraisal firm provided an appraisal for the purchase of a few thousand square foot loft in a new gut rehab conversion in downtown Manhattan. This Inman article on “Homes were reptiles roam” triggered my memory of this story, of which the details are a little fuzzy due to the time that has passed. Still, it’s worth sharing since it’s so bizarre.
Our firm was served a subpoena indicating we complicit in the newly discovered “mold” problem in the condo unit. I should point out that the developer, bank, mortgage broker, real estate broker, attorneys on both sides and others were also subject to the same lawsuit.
We reviewed the appraisal and did not understand why the buyer was coming after all of us. The unit was gut renovated and never occupied at the time of the inspection. We did not observe anything unusual.
Our attorney called on our behalf and got the story. The case was soon thrown out before we had to provide anything. The story goes like this:
- One night the owner was dining out and saw the adjacent table eating “turtle soup.”
- The owner had an epiphany that his life’s work would be to “rescue” all the turtles he could get his hands on.
- Soon there were a few thousand (my recollection) turtles living in the apartment with the heat kept warm enough to keep them thriving.
- Mold began to grow within the apartment.
- The owner claimed the unit was not livable due to the existence of mold and began to sue everyone connected with the sale.
- The unit owner moved out and rented another apartment nearby and brought the turtles with him.
- Mold began to grow in the rental apartment.
- The lawsuit was thrown out.
Note: redacted to protect the guilty/innocent