In 2012, Mitch Spaiser bought a five-bedroom brownstone in New York City. It seemed like an excellent investment at the time. More recently, that investment has turned sour. Spaiser has filed multiple lawsuits after his tenant, Patricia Taub, allegedly sublet the apartment and chaos ensued.
The sub-letter Ashley Jurman then sub-sub-let the apartment to one Kenayatti Adams, the lawsuit alleges. Spaiser is suing them both and throwing Taub in for good measure.
Court papers described Adams as “using the premises to host illegal poker games, to host sex trafficking and prostitution activities, and to hold illegal after-hours parties.” The document adds, “he mainly enters on the weekend and leaves during the weekdays.”
Court documents also claim that Adams was advertising poker games on Facebook with a $1,000 min buy-in, drinks, and in-house “talent.”
The chain of lettors and lettees makes for a complex tale for the courts to unravel.
Follow the money
Initially, the court documents claim, Taub sub-let the apartment for $16,000 per month to Ashley Jurman. Jurman moved into the property in November 2020. Court records see Jurman claiming Adams “strong-armed” his way into living in the flat. She denies using drugs or being involved in prostitution.
After that, either Jurman or Adams allegedly began to host lavish parties. Lavish and loud.
Calls began to pour in on the New York Police Department’s 311-line from nearby Park Avenue and the residents of the co-op run neighbors.
The complaints were all on theme. The house was being used as a members-only club. There were two bouncers on the door, comings and goings at all hours of the night, and a constant smell of cannabis smoke.
“I was getting calls from people in the neighborhood, like, threatening my life,” Spaiser told The New York Post.
Adams, on the other hand, countered the suit by blaming Jurman. Adams’s lawyer claims that while Adams does play some poker, he did not get involved in any of the illegal aspects of the case. In fact, he claims Jurman left after an altercation in which Adams accused Jurman of “improper conduct.”
Since then, he has been squatting in the property valued at around $6.9 million.
While this matter is sorted out, Spaiser’s passive income has dried up from the property.
Adams claims he cannot pay rent because of COVID-19, using tenant protection laws to allow him to continue to squat in the property.
Victor Feraru, Spaiser’s lawyer called this claim “the most egregious abuse of New York’s tenant protection laws being wrongfully used by bad actors to manipulate and take advantage of the system at the expense of the owners.”
The fact that the court system has been slowed down by COVID is liable to work in Adams’ favor. He may well be living in that property for a while.