Millionaire fights to keep his $380-a-month Park Avenue apartment

A Manhattan hedge fund honcho has gone to court in a bid to keep the best deal in New York – his $380-a-month deluxe duplex Park Ave. apartment.

In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Ross Haberman says the building’s board of directors has voted to raise the meager rent on the sprawling apartment to closer to market value, and that’s not fair.

“The proposed rent increase would increase the rent rate for Ross’ apartment by as much as 30 times,” the suit says.

While the millionaire Haberman Fund head could afford it, the suit says he shouldn’t have to because the building doesn’t have the authority to raise his rent.

Haberman is the grandson of the late Louis Katz, who was big in Manhattan real estate until his death in 1965. In his will, Katz left apartments in two of the luxury buildings he owned to his three children, and set up $300 rental apartments for his grandchildren.

The “family’ buildings are 530 Park and 737 Park, the suit says. Haberman lived in a $300 apartment at 530 Park from 1982 to 1991, and then moved into his $300 a month tenth floor apartment at 737.

Haberman married lawyer Vicki Kaplan in 1995 and they soon needed more space for their kids, so they combined their 10th floor home with the downstairs apartment in 2000. That sent the rent skyrocketing to $380 a month, the filing says.

Three of the six grandchildren have moved out of the buildings over the year, but they all maintain an ownership interest in the building. In July of last year, Haberman’s cousin and neighbor, Lauren Katz, “proposed a resolution which would increase the rent for each of the apartments occupied by the various family members to ‘a rate closer to the fair market value of the apartments.'”

The proposal passed, leading Haberman to file his suit. it seeks a declaration that the rent increase has “no legal force” and that he can stay in his apartments “at the same rental rate.”

By Dareh Gregorian

Source: NY Post.com

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Got $400K To Spend On a Week's Vacation

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Im sure Jay & Bey may be the first to take Richard up on this offer!

Branson goes 20,000 leagues under the sea

By Blake Ellis, staff reporter

February 4, 2010: 7:43 AM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Virgin unveiled the latest addition to Richard Branson’s luxury fleet on Friday: an underwater plane that will fly riders into the depths of the Caribbean Sea. Guests on Necker Island, a retreat in the British Virgin Islands, will be able to dive underwater in a submarine dubbed the Necker Nymph for $25,000 a week. But that’s only after shelling out around $300,000 for a one-week stay on Necker, the private island owned by billionaire and Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson.¬†¬†

¬†Beginning on Feb. 20, two riders and a pilot will be able to take the plunge from land or from a boat. The underwater plane uses the downward pressure on its wings to fly through the water for up to two hours at a time, while an open cockpit will give riders a 360-degree view. The Necker Nymph’s typical speed is 2 to 5 nautical miles per hour and it can dive more than 100 feet, said Karen Hawkes, a spokeswoman for Hawkes Ocean Technologies, the company that designed the Nymph. A statement released Friday by Virgin Limited Edition, the luxury arm of Virgin Hotels, described the Nymph’s launch like a plane’s takeoff. “Gliding on the water’s surface like an aeroplane on a runway, one of the three pilots will operate the joystick to smoothly dive down.” Vacationers will be able to fly the Necker Nymph while chartering the Necker Belle, Branson’s 105-foot yacht, or the submarine can be launched from shore. Necker Belle is rented out to guests for $88,000 a week, bringing the full Necker Island experience to more than $400,000 per week.

Underwater flight Riders must follow SCUBA procedures and be trained or accompanied by a certified pilot before entering the underwater plane. SCUBA tanks are mounted in the submarine and passengers must wear masks while underwater, said Hawkes. The Necker Nymph claims “near-zero” environmental impact because its “positive buoyancy prevents the sub from landing on a reef, and its low light and noise emissions ensure the fragile ocean ecosystems remain undisturbed,” Virgin said.