Model Emily Ratajkowski and her husband are worth close to $20 million combined, but a new lawsuit claims that the couple abused a law meant to help starving artists in order to avoid paying rent on their New York City loft — then took a payout in order to leave the pad.
As the New York Post reported, a lawsuit claimed that Emily and husband Sebastian Bear-McClard went two years without paying rent, racking up $160,000 in unpaid rent on the 1,100-square-foot apartment. Bear-McClard had lived in a loft at the 49 Bleecker Street residence, but the couple stopped paying rent in 2017 and filed an application to register the unit under New York City’s Loft Law, which is meant to provide affordable living spaces for artists. While the application was being processed, the pair could not be evicted for not paying rent.
The couple faced a lawsuit from landlord Antoni Ghosh, who has rented an entire floor of the building for $23,000 and sublets five of the six units. He claimed that Bear-McClard used delay tactics to postpone paying rent for as long as possible.
The couple also came under fire from a coalition of loft building owners who called them out for abusing the law meant to help artists who make little pay.
“Here is a prime example, in prime NYC real estate, where an uber-wealthy celebrity couple and tenant can take advantage and exploit a law that was intended for truly struggling artists and low-income families in need of affordable housing,” said Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for the coalition, told the New York Post.
While the couple was not paying rent, they actually purchased a home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park for a reported $2 million. As the Observer reported, the purchase was one of the most expensive in the area, though the neighborhood isn’t known for being a hotbed for celebrities.
Despite the legal dispute, Ratajkowski and her husband reportedly found a way to snag a payout on their way out of the building. As the New York Post reported, Ghosh had been paying $23,000 in rent to building owner, Rogers Investments, and the company ended up making an undisclosed payment to the celebrity couple in order to leave the building.
Emily has gone public with the fight, telling Twitter followers that Ghosh was part of a “real estate conglomerate” that “spread misinformation on its tenants in order to profit.”
The New York Post report noted that Bear-McClard, a movie producer, is worth an estimated $12 million. Ratajkowski’s net worth is estimated at more than $6 million.