Harlem Shop sues owner, claims unfair move

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April 27, 2022—Prestige Auto Repair has been in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood for 15 years, but its building has a new owner who wants to tear it down.

Thus, according to an article by PatchPrestige owner Yossi Mazig is suing the new owner.

Elie Fouerti, a developer, purchased the store building for $9.3 million in November 2021. Fouerti also purchased four other buildings in close proximity to the store.

The lawsuit claims these companies are being forced out to make way for an apartment building that Fouerti wants to build.

Fouerti sent Prestige a notice in March that threatened to terminate the store’s lease due to an alleged lack of proof of insurance. The store’s attorney rebuffed that claim, explaining that the store had sent its insurance policy to the previous owner before Fouerti purchased the building.

“The notice is patently frivolous and further confirms your client’s intent to harass our client in an effort to drive him out of his long-term activities on the premises so that he can proceed with his plan to demolish the building and ‘erect a much larger building on the site,’ attorney James Fishman wrote in a letter earlier this month, according to Patch.

Fouerti has filed several plans with the Department of Buildings to construct a 14-storey building on the block of land that Prestige partially occupies. But according to Patch, Fouerti denies there is any development on the site.

Prestige has seven full-time employees and, according to the lawsuit, its owners have invested more than $700,000 in the store. Even though the Prestige lease hasn’t been canceled since he faced his initial threat, Mazig still fears being evicted.

In the lawsuit, the store is asking for an extension of the time it has to correct any violations of the lease.

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