Investor Adam Lindemann (left) and real estate mogul Aby Rosen (right) with art dealer Amalia Dayan at a party at Gramercy Park Hotel. Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Adam Lindemann, the investor and owner of the Upper East Side art gallery Venus Over Manhattan, is suing real estate mogul Aby Rosen to break his lease on the gallerys 980 Madison Avenue location in New York, claiming he can no longer do business there due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown in the city.
According to documents filed in a Manhattan federal court on 18 May, the art dealer says that because of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's order temporarily shuttering nonessential businesses, he is no longer obligated to fulfil his lease, which terminates in 2022. The lawsuit cites “frustration of purpose”, a policy that allows tenants to terminate a lease if the purpose of the lease has been undermined because of an unforeseen circumstance.
“Is it only the tenant's responsibility when the tenant cant use the space as intended or may never be able to?” Errol Margolis, the gallery's lawyer, told Crains New York, which first reported the suit. “When you have a gallery opening, you have 500 people. If you have social distancing, how can you have 500 people in the future?”
In what could be seen as part of a growing rent strike movement in the city, Lindemann withheld his rent payment from April onwards and is seeking the return of his security deposit, which totals $365,000, along with legal fees. The terms of Venus lease required monthly rent payments of $73,814 in its final year, up from the $54,233 it paid when it first moved into the space in 2012.