Photo Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
Yesterday the New York Times revealed that an Upper East Side landlord had filed a lawsuit against Oscar-winning Network actress Faye Dunaway, claiming that she did not actually live in the rent-stabilized Manhattan apartment under her name, and that he was seeking to evict her. Dunaway, however, has a different story to tell.
"I have not been evicted," Dunaway, 70, said in one of three voicemails left for the Times. "I have chosen to leave because of the state of the apartment, and also because I am spending less and less time in New York."
Dunaway says that she decided to vacate the apartment because the landlord, Henry Moses Jr., "refused to paint the house, and bugs were everywhere." In essence, she said, "He is a slum landlord. He has no class."
Moses fired back: "I have no record of her asking for it to be painted, and the fact that bugs are everywhere is nonsense because we have an exterminating service that comes by once a month and tenants can ask in addition to that for special visits."
The apartment in question is a one-bedroom walk-up in an old tenement building on East 78th Street, which may seem like an odd address for a rich and famous movie star. The monthly rent is $1,048.72, drastically lower than any other rent for an equivalent apartment in the same neighborhood. Rent stabilization requires that the apartment be the tenant's primary residence, and Dunaway admittedly spends most of her time in California.
According to The New York Times, Dunaway was given the apartment by her mentor, playwright William Alfred, who died in 1999. Dunaway had been working on organizing Alfred's possessions and donating them to Brooklyn College, where Alfred went for his undergraduate education. Dunaway contacted Brooklyn College about making more donations as recently as last week.
But Moses' lawyer Craig Charie claims that, despite Dunaway's statement that she has given up the apartment, the actress has yet to return the keys to the apartment and still appears to be storing some of her belongings there. Moses saved some of Dunaway's voicemail messages where she offers to return the keys, and also informs Moses that she has arranged for a moving company to come and pick up some papers left behind.
"As of now, I don't have legal possession; she hasn't put a thing in writing," says Charie. "What if she goes in there and later claims, 'I had the Hope Diamond there and my Oscar in there and you took it'?"