Unneighborly Behavior When Co-op or Condo Residents Go Rogue

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In August, the New York Post reported that Eddie Wong, a resident of a luxury Greenwich Village co-op, was accused of  "watching a 30-year-old neighbor through her bedroom window after she got out of the shower." According to the story, Wong faces criminal charges for unlawful surveillance, while the co-op board has filed a lawsuit to block him from “sexually predatory behavior.”

Maintaining privacy and personal boundaries among residents in a community setting is always a challenge. The nature of condo and co-op living requires neighbors to exist together in an at least semi-harmonious fashion. Attempting to get a glimpse of a fellow resident in the buff is a pretty serious breach of the social contract. Human nature may be partly to blame, but the bottom line is that creepy, inappropriate behavior has a far-reaching, toxic effect on any community if it's not nipped in the proverbial bud.

Baring It All

“I've lost count of the number of tenant shareholders who have been caught wandering nude through the hallways,” says Michael T. Manzi, a partner with the law firm of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP, in Manhattan. “Sometimes, sadly, they're suffering from dementia or another type of mental illness, but other times, they are not. Sometimes it's more along the line of ‘'I was only taking my garbage to the garbage chute.'”

Manzi also recalls an instance where a couple was consistently choosing the roof of their building for loud romantic assignations. “That was disturbing to children,” he laments. “These things have to be handled delicately.”

Finally, he relates the tale of a resident threatened with a so-called Pullman action (in which a co-op shareholder is ejected from their building for being a constant nuisance or menace to neighbors and board) for “making out to a high level of inappropriateness” in the lobby. “I believe that the man involved was actually either a doorman or a super, which made it even more objectionable,” he says.

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