- Ray Dalio’s neighbor is suing over a renovation project at his family’s SoHo residence.
- The Dalio family is building a penthouse on top of its sixth-floor apartment, the NYT reported.
- The Dalios’ neighbor said in a lawsuit that the project could cause his nearby apartment to collapse.
A neighbor is suing billionaire hedge funder Ray Dalio after his family built an addition on top of their New York City apartment. The neighbor says he’s worried his own apartment could collapse, the New York Times reports.
Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa, the Dalio family’s neighbor and the former CEO of Pier 59 Studios, told the Times he’s been avoiding his SoHo apartment because he’s concerned about the renovations, which added a floor on top of a historic building and have, he argues, led to potential structural issues.
A spotlight is again on the suit, which was filed last year, after the Times’ recent profile, which sets up millionaire vs. billionaire in the rarefied world of high-end New York City real estate. (Forbes estimates Dalio is worth $19 billion and the Times called Pignatelli a “millionaire,” but didn’t put specifics on his net worth.)
“I’m Italian, Ray’s Italian,” Pignatelli told the Times. “We’re neighbors!” He said he no longer sleeps in the apartment. “We should respect each other and help each other, but he’s incredibly arrogant,” Pignatelli said of Dalio.
For his part, Dalio’s attorney said his family handled the renovations properly. “We have confidence that the legal system will handle this situation appropriately,” attorney Tom Sinchak told the Times. In a statement to Insiders. Sinchak said Dalio didn’t own the apartment — that it’s “owned and inhabited by his children.” Dalio is named in the suit.
Pignatelli is asking for relief and “in excess” of $10 million in damages, according to documents filed in New York Supreme Court. In the initial complaint, Pignatelli said that he was not given prior notice of the construction, which he said were essentially plans for a “building on a building.” He said he’s also “observed substantial structural collateral and other damage to its apartment.”
During the pandemic, the Dalio family began construction on a penthouse on top of their sixth-floor SoHo apartment, the Times reported. The project includes building a penthouse with a kitchenette and half-bathroom, as well as a 2,000-square-foot deck on top of the building, the publication says. The Times said the SoHo residence has been a home to some of Dalio’s children for years.
The Times reported that Pignatelli’s concerns about the project escalated recently — after reports of a parking garage in Manhattan that had collapsed in April.
Pignatelli wrote in a 24-page letter to the mayor and New York City officials in April that the project is “effectively a new 7th floor” and it is too heavy for the building to support, the Times reported.
A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Buildings said that it found the structure “did not fully comply” with the plans the city had approved but “did not observe any structurally hazardous conditions” when inspectors reviewed the project last year, the Times said. At the time, the department had issued an order for the Dalio’s to halt construction and said it planned to take back the permits, the Times reported.
Meanwhile, Pignatelli says in his lawsuit that he has seen signs the construction project is affecting his apartment. He said he’s seen cracks in the wooden columns supporting his residence, tilted columns, water leakage from his ceiling, damage to his floors, paint coming off his walls, and a door that would no longer fit properly into its frame.
Last year, Pignatelli said his housekeeper discovered the mirror in his bathroom had broken — an incident Pignatelli attributes to a “structural shift” in the building, but was dismissed by his insurance company, the Times reported.
In court documents for the case, Dalio denies Pignatelli’s claims. Sinchak, Dalio’s lawyer, said in a statement to Insider that the Dalios offered to hire an independent engineer “to conduct an objective assessment and to compensate him for any damages that might have been caused. Mr. Pignatelli instead chose to commence a lawsuit shortly thereafter , improperly including Mr. Dalio as a defendant in an obvious effort to try to embarrass him into a settlement.”
Pignatelli has sued the co-op board for the building in the past, the Times said. Both cases were settled.
Update, May 24, 2023: This story was updated with comments from Ray Dalio’s attorney.
Read the Times’ full story on the battle between Pignatelli and the Dalio’s on its website.