Millionaire author sues ‘incredibly arrogant’ billionaire neighbor for building PERGOLA on roof
A millionaire financier has sued his ‘incredibly arrogant’ billionaire neighbor for building a huge pergola on the roof of their SoHo penthouse that he said is crushing his apartment below.
Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa has lived in the West Broadway Arches building, built in the 1880s, since 1991 when he purchased Unit 6H for $650,000 in a rare opportunity at the time for a non-artist to own in Manhattan’s SoHo District.
Now, he says he is unable to live in his loft after his billionaire neighbor Ray Dalio’s son Paul Dalio and his wife Kristina Nikolova Dalio built ‘a whole new seventh floor,’ including a gigantic 15-foot pergola, which is not up to code .
Pignatelli said their pergola is crushing his apartment and has made it unsafe for him or his daughter to occupy the loft.
Pignatelli has now sued the Dalio family, including the Bridgewater Associates patriarch, one of his sons, and two daughters-in-laws, among others for structurally compromising his home.
Federico Pignatelli della Leonessa (left) has lived in the West Broadway Arches since 1991 when he purchased Unit 6H for $650,000. Now, he says he is unable to live in his loft after his billionaire neighbor (right) Ray Dalio’s son Paul Dalio and his wife Kristina Nikolova Dalio built ‘a whole new seventh floor,’ including a gigantic 15-foot pergola, which is out of code
He accuses the Dalio family, including the Bridgewater Associates patriarch, one of his sons, and two daughters-in-laws, among others for structurally compromising his home. The pergola can be seen peeking over the top of the SoHo building
Paul and Kristina no longer live in Unit 6G, which was purchased in 2013 for $4.3million, and it is now occupied by Dalio’s other son Mark. They own a second unit – 5G – which was purchased six months later for $2.8million.
‘I’m Italian, Ray’s Italian, we’re neighbors!’ Pignatelli told The New York Times. ‘We should be respecting each other and helping each other, but he’s incredibly arrogant.’
Dalio argues the Pigatelli, who has been spending his time in Los Angeles and Milan, only named him in the lawsuit to embarrass him into a settlement and he denies the defendants acted improperly.
The family’s attorney, Tom Sinchak, told the Times the family had gotten approval before starting the project and are “confident that the legal system will handle this situation appropriately.”
However, Pigatelli said he wasn’t made aware of the project until it was just about to begin and when he returned to New York in May 2021 after fleeing due to the pandemic, he found his side of the roof covered in construction materials and the newly constructed penthouse on his neighbor’s side.
Paul and Kristina only began building upward after Pigatelli declined to sell them his loft.
DailyMail.com has contacted Pigatelli for comment.
The millionaire would then spend a year texting the Dalios and the co-op board before filing a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court in 2022.
He filed photographic evidence that he claims shows the structural damage from the pergola’s structural support, which bleeds into its foundation.
From scatter skylights, to broken mirrors, to cracks in the ceilings and walls, Pigatelli argues Dalio’s new addition compromises the entire building’s structure.
‘I tried warning you that things were worsening because of the construction. And I had no choice left then to sue,’ Pigatelli texted Dalio at some point. ‘A mirror literally exploded in my bathroom because of the structural shift, and if my daughter or I would have been there we would have been severely injured or even killed.’
He filed photographic evidence that he claims shows the structural damage from the pergola’s structural support, which bleeds into its foundation. A mirror in one of his bathrooms exploded (pictured).
The Dalios built what Pigatelli calls a ‘seventh floor’ on the roof, which he says is threatening the structure of the building.
Pigatelli’s rooftop door is now misaligned due to the construction.
A skylight also shattered in Pigatelli’s loft, which he purchased in 1991 for $650,000.
He also showed multiple cracks throughout the house that appeared during and after Dalio’s construction.
He also argues that similar buildings – such as the parking garage that collapsed in Manhattan in April, killing one – proves that Dalio’s pergola and new additions pose a similar risk.
‘The new penthouse, decks and related construction, as occupied — effectively a new 7th floor — impose a load calculated to exceed 200,000 pounds resting on and supported by the building’s 140-year-old timber columns which they were never designed to support,’ a 24-page letter, filed to Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Buildings, said, according to the Times.
When the Department of Buildings did an inspection on the building, it found that the new edition ‘did not fully comply’ with the plans the city approved. However, it did not find that the structure provided ‘hazardous conditions.’
In May 2022, city inspectors then determined the ‘job doesn’t follow plans. Plans are not according to code.
The Dalios said they would resolve the issue, but have not done so, the department told the Times.
The pergola (lower left) is 15 feet tall and Pigatelli says its foundation bleeds into his apartment’s foundation, threatening it.
Over the years, Pigatelli said he and the Dalios had a good relationship as neighbors, but that dissolved in February 2020 when the financier messaged the co-op board chairman to complain the billionaire family kept leaving items in the hallway and that they often left their door Open all day, allowing children to ‘play and scream in this space.’
‘I have to hear them scream or play piano, like they are my kids,’ he said in a text seen by the Times.
Now, he avoids his Manhattan apartment and when he is in New York, he says at the private club Casa Cipriani.
‘They do all they can to make me feel at home, but nothing can beat my home,’ he told the Times.