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Former Bear Stearns CEO sues his Park Avenue housing co-op

Former Bear Stearns CEO who was blamed in the 2008 economic crisis sues his Park Avenue housing co-op accusing them of causing him ‘severe financial hardship’

  • James Cayne filed the lawsuit against the co-op board at 510 Park Avenue
  • He has been trying to sell his 5,000 square foot unit there since 2013
  • But claims the co-op board has blocked the sale and scuttled potential deals
  • Cayne stepped down as CEO of Bear Stearns in 2008 after criticism 

The former CEO of Bear Stearns, whose management failures were implicated in the 2008 financial crisis, has sued his housing co-op board accusing them of inflicting ‘severe financial hardship.’

James Cayne, 85, accused the co-op board at 510 Park Avenue of repeatedly blocking the sale of his sixth-floor unit, requesting board records in a court filling in Manhattan on Tuesday.

Apartment co-ops are a form of home ownership in which residents are shareholders of a corporation that owns and maintains a building — and co-op boards often wield sweeping control over who is allowed to move in.

Cayne and his wife first bought the 5,000-square-foot, 5.5-bedroom unit for $1.1 million in 1981, when he was rising through the ranks at Bear Stearns. 

Former Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne, 85, (seen in 2010) accused the co-op board at 510 Park Avenue of repeatedly blocking the sale of his sixth-floor unit

Cayne has been trying to sell his unit at 510 Park Avenue (above) since 2013

Cayne has been trying to sell his unit at 510 Park Avenue (above) since 2013

The filing states that Cayne’s acrimony with the board dates back to 1999, when he forced the board to conduct the sale of two ‘maid’s rooms’ by public auction rather than sealed bid, according to The Real Deal.

Cayne got into a bidding war with neighbor Lawerence Friedland, driving up the price of the room that Friedland ended up buying.

Friedland is now the head of the co-op board, and Cayne alleges that he has used his power to exact revenge by blocking Cayne from selling.

Cayne and his wife moved out in 2013, and listed the unit for $14.95 million, later dropping the asking price to $10 million.

In March 2016, the board rejected a $9 million bid, and another offer for $8.7 million was rejected that May, according to the filing.

The 5,000 square-foot unit has 5.5 bedrooms, one of which is seen above

The 5,000 square-foot unit has 5.5 bedrooms, one of which is seen above

The apartment also boasts a large fireplace and 34-foot-long living room

The apartment also boasts a large fireplace and 34-foot-long living room

A private elevator is another perk of the unit, which Cayne bought for $1.1 million in 1981

A private elevator is another perk of the unit, which Cayne bought for $1.1 million in 1981

This year, the board rejected a $6 million offer and continued to refuse when the buyer upped the offer to $6.75 million, the filing states.

Although Cayne and his wife have not lived in the building for more than six years, they continued to pay more than $9,000 per month in maintenance fees.

Cayne was the CEO of Bear Stearns for 15 years before stepping down in 2008 amid criticism of his management style.

‘In a time of crisis he flatly wasn’t up to the task,’ wrote former Bear Stearns CEO Alan ‘Ace’ Greenberg in his 2010 book, ‘The Rise and Fall of Bear Stearns.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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