Landlord Seizes Village Scandal Space, But Fight Goes On

IMG_6716Joanna Marshall

The longtime home of Village Scandal was finally seized by its landlord yesterday, but the owner of the 17-year-old hat store is fighting to get it back.

“We’re trying to get the eviction reversed,” Ms. Barrett’s lawyer, Ronald Podolsky, told The Local this morning. On Jan. 25, the shop on East Seventh street was served with an eviction notice demanding it leave by Monday. Mr. Podolsky said he is waiting for word from a city Supreme Court justice regarding the order. He is arguing that the eviction is invalid because lawyers for the landlord, 19 East 7 Group, refused to accept a court order yesterday morning for a stay of eviction.

“They claim the order was a forgery,” said Mr. Podolsky, still in disbelief. “I never saw such a ridiculous situation in my life. They claimed that no orders are signed on a Sunday. Well, the weekend Supreme Court justice signed the order on Sunday. The order is valid. And it’s signed by Wendy.”

“And they accused an experienced attorney of committing a crime,” added Mr. Podolsky. The attorney, who has been practicing law since 1959, represented the Emergency Coalition Organization to Save Washington Square Park when they fought the city’s renovation plans for the park in 2005.

Ms. Barrett has been involved in a complicated legal battle with A.J. Clarke Real Estate since 2004. Her landlord claims she owes more than $63,000 in back rent and real estate taxes, according to Mr. Podolsky. Ms. Barrett continues to vigorously deny the claim.

Her attorney believes she has a very good chance of getting the order reversed. “If the judge feels it’s a question of procedure and proper conduct of a lawyer, then the eviction could be vacated,” he said. “And then I go forward with the appeal, which I expect to win.”

But Mr. Podolsky said there is still no question about the landlord’s motive: “They want her out.”