Madonna has just about anything a Material Girl might need — wealth, fame, looks and a family. But what she wants most right now is a straight answer, her lawyers say.
In an ongoing dispute with an Upper West Side co-op, Madonna is asking a Manhattan judge to give her specific guidance on whether she can allow her kids and maid to live in an apartment that she owns without her having to be there physically.
In a letter filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Madonna’s lawyer Stuart Shaw says the lawyers for the building want to keep his client guessing about their rules so they are using legal “gamemanship” in their court papers by suggesting that the judge can — but doesn’t have to — take a stand on the issue.
The board of One West 64 Street Inc. told Madonna last year that as a result of rule changes adopted in April 2014, she would have to be “in residence” if she wanted her children, family, maid or guests to use the apartment for more than 30 days.
Madonna claims she only learned of the rule change recently.
She bought the apartment in 2008 for $7.3 million.
Madonna wants the court to define what “in residence” means.
“It’s impossible for me to be there at every moment my children or domestic employees are there,” the singer said in an affidavit filed in September. “I’d like to know how I am able to use my apartment without risking an eviction or otherwise incurring the wrath of the co-op board.”
In a letter to Supreme Court Justice Gerald Levovits, Shaw says his adversaries are trying to dissuade the court from making a ruling because, “like the sword of Democles, they used this confusion to be held over (her) head and harass and intimidate her.”
Shaw contends that if uncertainty remains, the co-op board can accuse Madonna of violating the rules and impose sanctions, including eviction.
Board lawyer Patrick Sweeney said in papers last week that the board had adopted a “garden variety” residency requirement and “no reasonable reading” of it could suggest that Madonna “must be physically present at all times such that she would be required to remove guests from her apartment if she went to the market.”
“This is a transparent attempt to interject ambiguity, where none exists, he says.
“Contrary to Defendant’s claim, this is neither histrionics, an absurdity or a canard but rather a real concern to Plaintiff which requires Court intervention,” Shaw said in his letter.
The judge is expected to rule at a later date.
Madonna once owned a larger duplex in the building, which she sold after breaking up with actor Sean Penn.
New York Daily News