'Career Con Artist' Duped UWS Landlords For Rent-Free Loft: Lawsuit

UPPER WEST SIDE, NY — A “career con-artist” and his family members managed to rent an upscale Upper West Side loft for two years without paying for more than one month’s rent, the building’s management company contended in a lawsuit.

West 60th Street Associates, which manages a residential townhouse at 245 West 71st St., alleges chef and entrepreneur Sarid Drory and his son, nephew and nephew’s live-in girlfriend defrauded the company by stiffing the landlords $100,000 in rent and hiding the money owed in shell accounts while they traveled on luxurious Mediterranean vacations, according to a complaint filed in New York County Supreme Court Tuesday.

When not gallivanting on vacation, the family were horrible tenants who had loud sex on an outdoor patio within earshot of children and bafflingly put their dog’s poop back inside their apartment after the landlord removed it, the lawsuit contends.

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Following a judgment last year ordering the unpaid rent money, Drory and “the next generation of fraudsters he is training” participated in a “conspiracy to hide their money through a series of voidable transfers,” the lawsuit states.

Requests for comment from Drory, his son and nephew were unsuccessful.

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Drury is the owner of now-defunct Artisinal Bistro, and the former owner of the Waverly Inn, The Cub Room and the Greenwich Cafe, according to his social media.

But those public ventures belied Drory’s extensive experience as a “career con-artist,” the lawsuit contends.

He has stiffed at least four landlords, forged documents submitted to court, used other people’s accounts for monetary transactions and threatened those who try to collect from him, the lawsuit stated.

In several instances, “Drory … referenced that he used to be in the “Mossad” (Israeli National Intelligence) as part of an effort to intimidate,” the lawsuit reads. In an email to the management company’s attorneys, Drory reportedly referenced an attorney’s daughter and claimed “I survived 4 years war in Lebanon with 280 marines in Beirut and I can assure you that you will never survive me. My community is watching you quite a bit.”

The swanky Upper West Side apartment was reportedly leased to Drory’s son Jonathan and nephew Shachar Zeplovitch about January 2020, with Jonathan providing a fake paystub and employment letter at a non-existent restaurant to meet the terms of leasing for the apartment inside the two-family, four-story house, the lawsuit reads.

One-bedroom units at the property were last rented for between $4,200 and nearly $6,000, according to StreetEasy data.

An associate of Drory’s also falsely claimed to be the landlord at 245 West 71st St. in a recommendation letter for tenancy, according to the lawsuit.

Though Jonathan and Zeplovitch were on the lease, Drory and his lover were actually the ones to take up full-time residence, according to the complaint. It apparently didn’t take long for the landlords to note that the new tenants were not “very clean, organized and respectful” as they “let their dog defecate all over” the landlords’ furniture, per the lawsuit.

In at least one instance, Drory’s son woke the landlord and his young children by “loudly having sex on the outdoor patio below the landlord’s apartment” during a visit. Drory reportedly stiffed the landlord about $100,000 in rent and delayed eviction by filing a fraudulent Covid-19 hardship declaration, the lawsuit reads.

Following a judgment issued last October ordering Drory and his family to shell out $139,035 in back pay and fees, the group allegedly shuffled about $211,000 in cash to bank accounts created immediately after the judgment was returned. Zeplovitch’s live-in girlfriend and an associate of Drory also helped to shuffle the funds, the lawsuit said.

When their bank accounts were subpoenaed by the court, the same $211,000 was reportedly transferred to a fraudulent shell company, including one masked as a nonexistent cigar lounge. The defendants also transferred tens of thousands of dollars to an associate and Zeplovitch’s girlfriend, “including payments for gambling, designer clothes, fancy restaurants and trips to places such as Paris, Israel, Greece, Capri and Sardinia,” the lawsuit reads.

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Drory also reportedly scheduled a two-hour consultation to “derail” an eviction proceeding by “creating a conflict” with West 60th Street Associates’ former attorneys.

West 60th Street Associates claims it is owed more than $150,000 in back rent and other fees, none of which have been paid.

The management company is demanding the $139,035 initial judgement payment, plus $50,000 in attorney’s fees and prohibiting the defendants from moving assets before money is paid back.

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