BATTERY PARK CITY — A Downtown apartment complex that recently backed down from its controversial proposed pet fee has been hit with another pet-related headache — getting hit with a lawsuit by a tenant who claims its did nothing to stop his neighbor's "baseless" complaints about his dog.
Gateway Plaza tenant Steven Sendor claims he was subjected to repeated visits from building staff because of an endless stream of complaints by a neighbor at the 1,712-unit complex who complained about "excessive barking" by his dog for close to a year.
Sendor added that staff never once found a problem with his Husky mix, Piper, when they responded to the calls, according to the lawsuit, which he filed against the LeFrak Organization on Aug. 30.
Still, they continued to investigate each and every complaint by his neighbor, David Levine, despite the fact that Levine is "known to be a problem at Gateway," and that his abundance of entries in the building's complaint log have been found "to be repeatedly baseless, untrue and/or false."
No other neighbor complained about Sendor and his dog, the suit says.
Levine ultimately retracted his complaints against Sendor and his dog on Aug. 29, according to the lawsuit.
"Every time [Levine] filed a complaint, he would bring up security or the doorman or the assistant manager," said Sendor's lawyer, Michael J. Devereaux, "And every time they went up there, they found no noise."
The LeFrak Organization has been the target of backlash from residents in recent weeks after attempting to introduce a hardline pet policy prohibiting certain dog breeds, including pit bulls, German shepherds and Great Danes, as well as any dogs weighing more than 40 pounds.
Management also planned to charge pet owners a $250 annual fee that was ultimately scrapped following an outcry from tenants.
“We are looking into this matter," Gateway said in a statement. "However, we do not comment on ongoing litigation."
Devereaux said his client sued Gateway management, rather than Levine, because the building is responsible for handling tenants who make false complaints.
The lawyer added that building management is currently reviewing the log of Levine's complaints, adding that Gateway has so far been compliant in the process.
"I'm not sure it's a problem with managment as much as it is with this one person," Devereaux said. "They indicated that they would work with us on it."
Devereaux noted that Sendor has lived in Gateway for more than 10 years and has owned two Huskies during that time.
Levine did not return a request for comment.