An Upper East Side couple has had to live apart for two years after creeping toxic dust from a neighbor’s gut renovation forced them out of their $2 million apartment, a lawsuit claims.
Edward and Marisa Greason each moved in with an elderly parent in December 2014 after they found their Sutton Place apartment covered in asbestos and lead-paint dust.
Alarmed by the carcinogenic powder, they grabbed what they could and fled. They’ve been couch-surfing ever since.
“All our Christmas ornaments from 2014 are still in the living room,” Edward Greason, 57, told The Post. “It’s been a strain. We are living in overnight bags in two separate places.”
Greason, an attorney, has ordered six scientific tests of the dust particles, which continue to invade the apartment from air vents. and through cracks caused by their upstairs neighbor’s renovation, he claims.
The tests show the presence of asbestos, and levels of lead 80 times the federal allowable limit, said Greason.
Their two-bedroom apartment has been “rendered uninhabitable” and caused the couple “severe emotional distress,” according to legal papers filed by the Greasons against upstairs neighbor Mary Cunningham, the co-op board, architect Jim Thomas, and the construction company Global Group Industries Corp. involved in the six-month renovation.
Workmen gutted Cunningham’s apartment, tearing down walls and ripping up floors that exposed asbestos-wrapped pipes and lead paint in the old parquet floors, according to court papers. They failed to cover work areas with “ plastic sheeting,” court papers say.
And while the co-op board did spring for an initial clean-up and attempted to seal the exposed cracks and vents, the dust continued to rain down on the Greasons’ kitchen and bathrooms, the lawsuit says.
At one point, a member of the board told Greason that he was overreacting, and should just wipe off the dust with a wet towel.
To add to their woes, the board took them to court to demand the two years’ of maintenance payments, which total more than $40,000 that the Greasons had put into an escrow account to pressure the board to pay for cleaning and repairs.
But their mortgage lender paid out the maintenance, leaving the Greasons little financial leverage against the co-op board.
The Greasons are asking a judge to force the defendants to pay for a thorough environmental clean up of their home, and seek unspecified damages for forcing them out of their home.
A spokesperson for the building told The Post, “We dispute strenuously any environmental problems in our building. We point out that plaintiffs started this lawsuit months ago and have not pushed it forward, which to us is some indication of its lack of strength.”
Calls to Cunningham and the construction company were not returned. Thomas, the architect, had no comment.
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