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New York Daily News -- Housing Court Tales

Posted by Mark Smith on May 11, 2000 at 09:30:48:

From the New York Daily News, Thursday, May 11th:

Housing Court Tales
by Danielle Reed, New York Daily News columnist

One of the city's longer-running landlord-tenant disputes may be headed for a resolution.

The case of Dulac vs. Dabrowski pits Pari Dulac, owner of La Boheme restaurant and the rest of the building at 24 Minetta Lane, against her longtime second-floor tenant, Robert Dabrowski.

In 1988, Dulac tried to exercise her right to take back Dabrowski's 900-square-foot apartment for her own use.

That led to years of legal wrangling, with Dabrowski arguing his stabilized rent was too high because the apartment was covered under older rent control laws. After an initial victory, Dabrowski stopped paying rent for much of the next decade.

In 1998, the state Supreme Court ruled Dabrowski actually owed $41,000 in back rent, and he filed for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Dulac still hasn't been able to take back the apartment. On June 12, the case will again be heard in state civil court.

Dabrowski lawyer Robert Grimble is arguing the case should be dismissed, since Dabrowski is currently paying rent, and the back rent debt was discharged by the bankruptcy. And Dabrowski should still be able to live in the apartment, Grimble said.

Dulac's lawyer, Meryl Wenig, sees things differently. "If you buy a car and don't make payments and then declare bankruptcy, you don't get to keep the car," she said. "It's no different for an apartment."

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