Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Madonna Sues Her NYC Co-Op for Kids

Article Placeholder Image
By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on April 05, 2016 3:46 PM

Lately Madonna and her New York neighbors have not been getting along, as evidenced by a lawsuit she filed against her co-op last week. The international pop icon sued the Upper West Side property group, claiming it changed her proprietary lease without notice, blocking her from using her apartment as she intended.

Madonna's suit says no one notified her of the vote on the co-op's lease change, according to Courthouse News Service. The change bars her kids from being in the co-op with caretakers if she is not around. Let's look at what she seeks in terms of relief.

A Good Neighborhood

Madonna sued One West 64th Street in New York County Supreme Court on April Fool's day, the first of the month. But she wasn't fooling around. The superstar wants unspecified monetary damages for the alleged breach, to collect attorney's fees and the cost of the suit against the co-op, and to inspect co-op records.

In terms of non-monetary relief, she seeks a declaratory judgment permitting her children to remain in the apartment without her present while she is on tour. When Madonna bought into the co-op in April 2008 (for a lot more money than any apartment in the area than had ever cost) the proprietary lease said her unit could be occupied by her, her spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, siblings and domestic employees. Guests could stay there for up to a month if "one or more or the permitted adult residents are then in occupancy."

But two years ago, the co-op changed the lease without notifying Madonna, supposedly after having gotten approval from two-thirds of the building's residents. Madonna says no one even told her about the vote. The lease now requires the she or a spouse or a "domestic parent" be present for close relatives and staff to be in the home.

A Bad Neighbor?

The pop star claims that the move by her co-op violates her deal with the building and New York Real Property Law by restricting occupancy of a residence to the immediate family of the lessor. She wants her kids and their caretakers to be able to live in the building and says that the lease change blocks her from using the building as she specifically intended. Madonna is the mother of four children, only one of whom is over 18 years old.

The lawsuit comes just a couple of weeks after the city of New York's Department of Transportation sent the superstar a notice for defacing city property just outside her co-op building. She had posted signage that indicates no one can park there, which was not approved by the city and was very much disapproved by neighbors. They are reportedly not happy about the star acting like a diva.

Related Resources: