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Manhattan, NY - Holy-War Over Sukkos At Trump Place Condos

Published on: February 26, 2012 09:48 AM
By:  NY Post
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Manhattan, NY - A high-rise holy war has broken out at the Trump Place Condominiums, where one man’s straw Sukkot has left a concerned couple soaking wet and steaming mad.

Thomas Tagliani and Leslie Lucas say they’ve repeatedly complained about the Sukkot that Zev Geller, who lives two floors down, builds each year on his third-floor terrace.

The 20-foot-long religious structure is a fire hazard, and Geller allegedly regularly barbecues next to it, creating a dangerous “tinderbox condition,” according to the couple’s Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

Tagliani and Lucas are suing Geller, the condo owner and the condo board for $500,000. They want Geller booted from the building as well.

“I’m Jewish. I built a Sukkot. I didn’t think much of it because it’s temporary,” Geller said. “I’m literally just a Jewish person living in New York City, but I guess my neighbor doesn’t like that.”

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The case has nothing to do with religion, said lawyer William Perniciaro, who represents Tagliani and Lucas.
“It’s about fire, period,” said Perniciaro.

Geller claims he researched the law and found that Sukkots don’t fall under the fire code.

“I guess they take it personally that I’ve done anything on the terrace of my own apartment,” he said.


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1

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM Anonymous Says:

The fact is that bbq'g is ILLEGAL to do on terraces. HE should Not BBQ. However, this couple if nothing else are a greedy pair of characters.

2

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM TimewillTell Says:

Tagliani if u like it or not Donald Trump has a Jewish daughter (Ivanka) and she also made a Sukkah last year so its in style. get into the system before leiters sukka will be out of Stock.

3

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM Chamor HaDor Says:

A BBQ on a terrace next to a sukkah? I can see why they'd be concerned about that...I don't know Mr. Geller, but he sounds like a typical wiseguy. Why not just apologize and stop the BBQ's.

Frankly, no one really cares if you build a sukkah on your terrace.

4

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM Anonymous Says:

So barbequing on a terrace is OK? How about stringing up lights for the holidays...no potential fire hazard there? These anti-semites' lawyer is full of it. Get over it people...WE ARE HERE.

5

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:31 AM ALLAN Says:

Several components to this story.. Does the buildings contract with the cono owners prohibit barbecuing on the terrace. Another issue is the use and or storeage of flammable materials. If propane is used it could be a major issue. If Mr. Geller is confident that he is within his rights but the fire issue remains, let FDNY come in and make the decision on the issue of fire safety and law.

6

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM Mark Levin Says:

Sounds to me like the nosey neighbor is more like a pain in the neck sonay yisroel than anything else. He lives 2 floors up & the sukka bothers him? He wants 500k???? For what???? HE is the one who should get booted from the condo!

7

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:42 AM MIESQ Says:

Similar to #5 On one level does building a Succah or BBQ violate the condo's by -laws or not. Most likely they do not then the next question it is possible there is a problem with how Mr. Geller's Succah is designed and all that is needed is a little retooling. It is sad that people are so quick to seek counsel and clog the courts with suits which at their essence may be only the product of folks not being able to talk to each other and finding reasonable resolution.

8

 Feb 26, 2012 at 10:46 AM FirshtRadzivil Says:

What don't you understand? They are in need of money

9

 Feb 26, 2012 at 11:09 AM ShalomCon Says:

Many lovely neighbors are really simmering anti-Semites and this type of situation brings out their true stripes. Why give them ammunition, even for one week a year? There are many municipal restrictions regarding grilling on balconies, rooftops, decks and terraces. There are also regulations about what you can put out there. And what isn't covered by the fire department can be barred by the declarations and bylaws of condo or co-op associations.

Before next Sukkot, Mr. Geller should study up on exactly what's allowed and proceed accordingly. There are less combustible choices for schach than straw, aren't there? And face it, barbequing right next to a sukkah is a bad whether you're on a NYC balcony or in a suburban back yard.

10

 Feb 26, 2012 at 11:14 AM SherryTheNoahide Says:

The couple complaining sound like a greedy pair! They want all that money... for what?!?!

Being concerned about the potential fire hazard is one thing... but suing the guy over it is another! How greedy can a person get?!

The answer is to simply ASK the person to make sure his\her BBQ isn't too close to the Sukkah! Or maybe ask them to just NOT BBQ all together! (But ask politely!)

If the person refuses to move the BBQ further away from the Sukkah, or refuses to heed your concerns... then take it up w\the condo management! If they don't do anything about it either...

Well... then either YOU move out, or maybe they will...

But hiring a lawyer & making THIS much fuss over it, just shows how greedy you are! Get over yourself! The man is BBQ'ing ONCE A YEAR!!! And, for a religious holiday!

Whatever happened to religious tolerance in this country!

It seems to me, that if a person isn't a fundamentalist x-tian... they don't HAVE as much liberty to celebrate their religion as everyone else!

11

 Feb 26, 2012 at 11:22 AM MosheM Says:

Doesn't sound like this person actually barbecues.

12

 Feb 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM SammyL Says:

Reply to #10  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

The couple complaining sound like a greedy pair! They want all that money... for what?!?!

Being concerned about the potential fire hazard is one thing... but suing the guy over it is another! How greedy can a person get?!

The answer is to simply ASK the person to make sure his\her BBQ isn't too close to the Sukkah! Or maybe ask them to just NOT BBQ all together! (But ask politely!)

If the person refuses to move the BBQ further away from the Sukkah, or refuses to heed your concerns... then take it up w\the condo management! If they don't do anything about it either...

Well... then either YOU move out, or maybe they will...

But hiring a lawyer & making THIS much fuss over it, just shows how greedy you are! Get over yourself! The man is BBQ'ing ONCE A YEAR!!! And, for a religious holiday!

Whatever happened to religious tolerance in this country!

It seems to me, that if a person isn't a fundamentalist x-tian... they don't HAVE as much liberty to celebrate their religion as everyone else!

The last sentence is quite sanctimonious. The above story has absolutely nothing to do with "fundamentalist x-tians". The religion of the plaintiffs is not mentioned in the story. Maybe they are ultra liberal athiests. I can't understand why so many people have this mishigas about attacking fundamentalist Christians at every opportunity. BTW: they are the most supportive allies of the Jewish people and Israel today.

13

 Feb 26, 2012 at 01:04 PM mewhoze Says:

no one should have a bbq on a balcony.
i see nothing wrong with the succah tho

14

 Feb 26, 2012 at 02:02 PM ALLAN Says:

Reply to #10  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

The couple complaining sound like a greedy pair! They want all that money... for what?!?!

Being concerned about the potential fire hazard is one thing... but suing the guy over it is another! How greedy can a person get?!

The answer is to simply ASK the person to make sure his\her BBQ isn't too close to the Sukkah! Or maybe ask them to just NOT BBQ all together! (But ask politely!)

If the person refuses to move the BBQ further away from the Sukkah, or refuses to heed your concerns... then take it up w\the condo management! If they don't do anything about it either...

Well... then either YOU move out, or maybe they will...

But hiring a lawyer & making THIS much fuss over it, just shows how greedy you are! Get over yourself! The man is BBQ'ing ONCE A YEAR!!! And, for a religious holiday!

Whatever happened to religious tolerance in this country!

It seems to me, that if a person isn't a fundamentalist x-tian... they don't HAVE as much liberty to celebrate their religion as everyone else!

Sherry, I am not defending the couple suing him but the reality of the situation is that Mr. Geller may be in violation of FDNY rules for barbecues on terraces. There have been some horrible fires in NYC residential high rise buildings. High rise fires are extremely hard to fight because of the height and possible wind conditions. FDNY has a High Rise Unit, lets hope that they are not needed here. As a Jew I am all for his religious freedom, but not at any cost.

15

 Feb 26, 2012 at 03:30 PM AKIVAF Says:

There is a well known ma'aseh from Washington Heights and also an English kids' books with this exact scenario.

The landlord screams at the Yid to take the Sukkah down and takes him to court. He goes to court and the Jewish judge says to him with a wink- I am siding with the landlord in this case and you have eight days to take it down.

16

 Feb 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM somejew Says:

Is this really worth a half-million dollar lawsuit? Pure greed.

17

 Feb 26, 2012 at 05:37 PM SherryTheNoahide Says:

Reply to #12  
SammyL Says:

The last sentence is quite sanctimonious. The above story has absolutely nothing to do with "fundamentalist x-tians". The religion of the plaintiffs is not mentioned in the story. Maybe they are ultra liberal athiests. I can't understand why so many people have this mishigas about attacking fundamentalist Christians at every opportunity. BTW: they are the most supportive allies of the Jewish people and Israel today.

No, go back & re-read what I wrote please. I didn't say that fundamentalist x-tians are to blame here! (lol)

I said that it seems to me, that UNLESS a person is a fundamentalist x-tian... the rights to practice their religion cannot be exercised as freely in this country.

I mean, it doesn't seem way out of line to SUE for 1\2 a million dollars, unless people STOP BBQing on Sukkot?!

And don't give me the excuse it's a fire hazard! You can COMPLAIN about a fire hazard! Take it up w\apartment management! Complain TO the fire dept & let THEM deal w\the issue, or slap a citation on them!

But SUE for $500,000?!?! Come on!

Who SUES Christians for putting their holiday lights up all over their houses & apartment balconies?!?!

Nobody!!!

18

 Feb 26, 2012 at 06:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

No, go back & re-read what I wrote please. I didn't say that fundamentalist x-tians are to blame here! (lol)

I said that it seems to me, that UNLESS a person is a fundamentalist x-tian... the rights to practice their religion cannot be exercised as freely in this country.

I mean, it doesn't seem way out of line to SUE for 1\2 a million dollars, unless people STOP BBQing on Sukkot?!

And don't give me the excuse it's a fire hazard! You can COMPLAIN about a fire hazard! Take it up w\apartment management! Complain TO the fire dept & let THEM deal w\the issue, or slap a citation on them!

But SUE for $500,000?!?! Come on!

Who SUES Christians for putting their holiday lights up all over their houses & apartment balconies?!?!

Nobody!!!

You beat me to it! I wanted to point out how many fires are caused each year by people putting x-mas lights on trees. You never hear anyone saying anything about the "wisdom" of this custom.

19

 Feb 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM JackC Says:

NYC law on barbecues: The 20 Gallon tanks are illegal. Natural gas and electric are OK. Charcoal is OK when 10-foot clearance between the grill and the
building (or, I'm sure, Succah). You must also have immediate access to a fire extinguisher or a water supply, such as a garden hose.

20

 Feb 26, 2012 at 07:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
JackC Says:

NYC law on barbecues: The 20 Gallon tanks are illegal. Natural gas and electric are OK. Charcoal is OK when 10-foot clearance between the grill and the
building (or, I'm sure, Succah). You must also have immediate access to a fire extinguisher or a water supply, such as a garden hose.

There are virtually no terraces in NYC apartment buildings that would give you a 10 foot clearance between the BBQ and the wall of the building.

21

 Feb 26, 2012 at 07:16 PM Justice Says:

I hope I get selected as part of the jury selection.
Anyway since when does smoking not cause a fire hazardous? No clause on the contract. No smoking allowed.no Christmas lights allowed .no romantic candles allowed. No.pets are allowed they can tip over a candle.get a life u greedy neighbor. Hope the jury reaches the verdict that both of you are a neighbor in hell hazardous .waste of tax payers money and get u kicked out.u anyway can't afford the rent. That's why u need to.find something to sue.

22

 Feb 26, 2012 at 09:35 PM Anonymous Says:

I seriously doubt that this succah is a fire hazard. The neighbors might see the schach (which is unlikely straw) from 2 floors above and not understand that the structure itself is not made of straw. The Trump building has huge terraces and they function as backyards, they're not purely decorative. If his use of his terrace was out of compliance with the building code the board and landlord would have him remove the succah and might even evict him. Since they are both named on the lawsuit as well, they clearly are comfortable backing this use of space. The Trump buildings have had fires, most recently less than two weeks ago and not from a succah, the fires don't generally spread past the apartment that is aflame. An actor who resides in these buildings owned a fish tank that malfunctioned and caused a fire, did they ban fish tanks? Living in any apartment building requires a certain amount of patience and good communication skills. Suing the board, means you've sued every neighbor who pay dues. Entitling yourself to $500,000 + attorney fees because you don't like a once a year, temporary building structure, that everyone else manages to ignore is quite pathetic and unethical.

23

 Feb 26, 2012 at 09:36 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #10  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

The couple complaining sound like a greedy pair! They want all that money... for what?!?!

Being concerned about the potential fire hazard is one thing... but suing the guy over it is another! How greedy can a person get?!

The answer is to simply ASK the person to make sure his\her BBQ isn't too close to the Sukkah! Or maybe ask them to just NOT BBQ all together! (But ask politely!)

If the person refuses to move the BBQ further away from the Sukkah, or refuses to heed your concerns... then take it up w\the condo management! If they don't do anything about it either...

Well... then either YOU move out, or maybe they will...

But hiring a lawyer & making THIS much fuss over it, just shows how greedy you are! Get over yourself! The man is BBQ'ing ONCE A YEAR!!! And, for a religious holiday!

Whatever happened to religious tolerance in this country!

It seems to me, that if a person isn't a fundamentalist x-tian... they don't HAVE as much liberty to celebrate their religion as everyone else!

I don't see where the neighbors are having an issue with building of the Sukkah. But barbecuing next to it trumps all other rights and freedoms because it is an active fire hazard. Sometimes, it is not the message itself that is disturbing, but the way it is conveyed.

24

 Feb 26, 2012 at 09:42 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #12  
SammyL Says:

The last sentence is quite sanctimonious. The above story has absolutely nothing to do with "fundamentalist x-tians". The religion of the plaintiffs is not mentioned in the story. Maybe they are ultra liberal athiests. I can't understand why so many people have this mishigas about attacking fundamentalist Christians at every opportunity. BTW: they are the most supportive allies of the Jewish people and Israel today.

Poster #10 was not attacking anyone, as you, in fact were. She was merely stating a fact. You may agree or disagree with it. But don't call people any names (Like "Sanctimonious".)
p.s.: You misspelled "Atheists". Look it up.

25

 Feb 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM bigwheeel Says:

Reply to #17  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

No, go back & re-read what I wrote please. I didn't say that fundamentalist x-tians are to blame here! (lol)

I said that it seems to me, that UNLESS a person is a fundamentalist x-tian... the rights to practice their religion cannot be exercised as freely in this country.

I mean, it doesn't seem way out of line to SUE for 1\2 a million dollars, unless people STOP BBQing on Sukkot?!

And don't give me the excuse it's a fire hazard! You can COMPLAIN about a fire hazard! Take it up w\apartment management! Complain TO the fire dept & let THEM deal w\the issue, or slap a citation on them!

But SUE for $500,000?!?! Come on!

Who SUES Christians for putting their holiday lights up all over their houses & apartment balconies?!?!

Nobody!!!

Thank you for not leaving the (Rhetorical) question unanswered.

26

 Feb 27, 2012 at 08:02 AM shredready Says:

the guy cannot stop barbecuing for eighth days or how long his sukkoh is up.
Both are OK but barbecuing next to a sukkoh i can see why people are concerned especially if he is using straw since that can light up real easy

27

 Feb 27, 2012 at 05:25 PM Fox613 Says:

Here's the part that doesn't make sense: the couple is apparently suing both Geller and the condo board.

Normally, an owner would bring a complaint directly to the condo board, an investigation would be conducted, and if necessary, the condo board would file a lawsuit.

The fact that the couple is suing both Geller and condo board suggests that perhaps the condo board investigated; didn't find any evidence of wrongdoing; and now this couple is on the warpath. Certainly if Geller were doing something unsafe, the condo board would have little reason to condone it.

28

 Feb 27, 2012 at 09:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
SherryTheNoahide Says:

The couple complaining sound like a greedy pair! They want all that money... for what?!?!

Being concerned about the potential fire hazard is one thing... but suing the guy over it is another! How greedy can a person get?!

The answer is to simply ASK the person to make sure his\her BBQ isn't too close to the Sukkah! Or maybe ask them to just NOT BBQ all together! (But ask politely!)

If the person refuses to move the BBQ further away from the Sukkah, or refuses to heed your concerns... then take it up w\the condo management! If they don't do anything about it either...

Well... then either YOU move out, or maybe they will...

But hiring a lawyer & making THIS much fuss over it, just shows how greedy you are! Get over yourself! The man is BBQ'ing ONCE A YEAR!!! And, for a religious holiday!

Whatever happened to religious tolerance in this country!

It seems to me, that if a person isn't a fundamentalist x-tian... they don't HAVE as much liberty to celebrate their religion as everyone else!

No offense, Sherry, but "barbequeing once a year for a religious holiday" is an exaggeration. There is nothing even remotely religious about barbequeing near a succah.

And it is not your place to tell other people what to do, especially when it comes to suing someone. There are laws against frivolous prosecution, malicious prosecution and abuse of process to counterclaim, and suing someone is not as cheap as you think.

29

 Feb 28, 2012 at 01:48 AM Anonymous Says:

every lawyer-wannabe has a legal opinion here, and not one of you has any idea what the circumstances actually are.

If the people want to pay a lawyer to sue, let them go ahead. It will cost thousands of dollars to even begin, if not tens of thousands, and if the case has no merit it will get thrown out quickly, and they will have lost the money they spent. Where does greed come into this?

And for the smart-alecks who deal with ambulance-chasers, no lawyer will take a contingency case that he doesn't think he can win. 35 or 40% of zero is still zero.

Where you people get the idea that the people suing are greedy people is beyond me. what is there to be greedy about? They cannot possibly show $500,000 in dmages to themselves, so they cannot collect that much even if the court finds the Jews acted wrongly. the neighbors may be rich and dstupid, but they are not "greedy", as the morons on this site seem to think, because there is no greed to factor in here.

30

 Feb 28, 2012 at 01:02 PM Anonymous Says:

I happen to know Zev Geller and here is what happenned:there are 2 seperate issues. every year this jerk gives Zev grief over a sukkah, but he is allowed to have one.the bbq is a totally seperate issue. Zev does not grill on sukkot. he is not an idiot. Zevs "balcony" is really considered a roof because its on top of the garage. He thought he could have a grill because grills are allowed on roofs.while grilling a few weeks ago (not on Sukkot), this guy yelled down and started swearing at him. he called security and they came to the apt. Zev put out the grill willingly and the man came down to his apt yelling and cursing. he then took Zevs mezuzah on the front door and threw it to the ground (breaking it). thank G-d security was there to witness this "bheima". Zev pressed charges and now this awful person is suing him. total antisemite- end of story-btw- supposedly this guy has a record of suing anybody and everybody!!!

31

 Feb 28, 2012 at 10:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
Anonymous Says:

I happen to know Zev Geller and here is what happenned:there are 2 seperate issues. every year this jerk gives Zev grief over a sukkah, but he is allowed to have one.the bbq is a totally seperate issue. Zev does not grill on sukkot. he is not an idiot. Zevs "balcony" is really considered a roof because its on top of the garage. He thought he could have a grill because grills are allowed on roofs.while grilling a few weeks ago (not on Sukkot), this guy yelled down and started swearing at him. he called security and they came to the apt. Zev put out the grill willingly and the man came down to his apt yelling and cursing. he then took Zevs mezuzah on the front door and threw it to the ground (breaking it). thank G-d security was there to witness this "bheima". Zev pressed charges and now this awful person is suing him. total antisemite- end of story-btw- supposedly this guy has a record of suing anybody and everybody!!!

good, let him spend his money on legal fees, he won't be awarded anything by the court.

32

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