On December 12, an apartment at 71 West Washington Place was put up for sale, and the listing described the place as “rich in history.”
That description referred to the building’s age (176 years) and its first owner (a merchant), but the duplex has enjoyed a much more intriguing recent history in the tabloids. In 2017, the actor Justin Theroux sued the owner of 1A, Norman Resnicow, for $4.58 million in damages caused by his alleged “targeted and malicious years-long harassment campaign.” The campaign allegedly included Resnicow killing off the actor’s ivy and traipsing upstairs to snoop on him and his then-wife, Jennifer Aniston. Resnicow then countersued, accusing Theroux of causing a nuisance with floodlights, runoff, and a patio umbrella that extended over the property line when it unfurled. But finally, in August, a judge found Resnicow partially liable, though a court still has to decide how much the actor could actually get in damages.
Meanwhile, the co-op board has been trying to evict Resnicow over how he treated other neighbors, alleging “verbal abuse, threats and offensive language.” In response, Resnicow argued that the board failed to follow the proper protocol to kick him out. Both sides have asked for a summary judgment, which means they’re waiting on a decision from a judge that could come any day now. And if the judge rules against Resnicow, the co-op board would assign a lawyer to handle the sale in a “Pullman proceeding” — which would take the ins and outs of the sale of his home out of his hands. He’s accused the board of trying to sell at “a distressed price.”
Which might be why Resnicow is selling now. Joshua Kopelowitz, the lawyer for the co-op board, saw the listing as Norman’s attempt to “take matters into his own hands” and sell on his own terms before a third party intervenes: “That’s certainly one way to view that. And frankly, I’m not sure there’s another way.”
Resnicow did not immediately return a call or an email. His lawyer, Peter M. Levine, said he couldn’t speak to why Resnicow was leaving now. “There are many reasons people buy and sell real estate,” said Levine, who rattled off a few factors that might be motivating Resincow and his wife: They’re both in their mid-70s, the duplex has a set of stairs, and their adult children do not live in the city.
Potential buyers have already been touring through, and Levine said he doesn’t think any of them will be put off by the conflict. “It’s not like it’s haunted.”