Leak from ex-Twitter CEO’s loft damaged artist’s work: suit

A former Twitter honcho rained distress on his Soho neighbor after a bathe in his $8 million loft sprung a leak and ruined the art work of the famend painter downstairs, a brand new lawsuit expenses.

Richard Costolo, who was the CEO of Twitter from 2010 to 2015, waited hours earlier than stopping the torrent that damaged or destroyed 176 items belonging to Dorothea Rockburne, 88, an abstract painter whose work is in main museums together with the Metropolitan and MOMA, in response to the lawsuit filed Friday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The suit seeks $2 million plus unspecified punitive damages in opposition to Costolo and his spouse, Lorin. It got here after Costolo’s insurance coverage firm denied legal responsibility for the flood, authorized papers say.

“I think it’s a question of the big fish eat the little fish,” Rockburne informed The Post. “He thinks he doesn’t have to deal with it because I’m old; because I’m a woman; because I’m an artist.”

Dorothea Rockburne
Dorothea Rockburne is searching for $2 million unspecified punitive damages within the suit.
Marc Asnin

Rockburne mentioned she’d by no means met Costolo, who purchased the Grand Street loft in April 2020 from Alexandre de Betak, a vogue present producer. The pad got here full with a secret party room with a stripper pole and is in a loft constructing that for years housed the houses or studios of artists like Rockburne and vogue photographer Arthur Elgort.

Costolo, 57, who lives exterior San Francisco, was not within the loft when the Jan. 25 flood occurred. A pal staying within the condo turned on the visitor room bathe for the primary time since Costolo owned the property and it began to leak, authorized papers say.

Costolo was informed of the issue about 1 p.m. Jan. 25 however “refused to allow repairs … until a plumber of his choosing was available,” the suit expenses.

The plumber didn’t arrive till 5:30 p.m. and stopped the flood a half hour later, authorized papers say.

Meanwhile, the water was pouring onto Rockburne’s work, together with sketches relationship to her time as a scholar at Black Mountain College and different work from the Seventies and Eighties. She has lived within the 6,200-square-foot loft since 1973 and it’s each her house and work house.

“It just breaks my heart to see this,” Rockburne mentioned Friday, taking a look at one damaged drawing. Other items turned caught collectively and plenty of have stains.

Dick Costolo, seen here with his wife Lorin, was not in the apartment when the leak occurred.
Dick Costolo, seen right here together with his spouse Lorin, was not within the condo when the leak occurred.
FilmMagic

Rockburne and staffers from the Upper East Side David Nolan Gallery, which represents her and the place she can have a present in October, tried to salvage as a lot as doable, however 25 items value $1.3 million have been “irreparably damaged,” the lawsuit expenses.

Costolo, whose web value was reportedly greater than $400 million when he left Twitter in 2015 to get replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey, appeared to initially take duty for the flood.

“Let me know if there’s anything in your place that needs repair,” Costolo wrote in a Jan. 25 e mail, authorized papers say.

Dorothea Rockburne
The condo itself additionally suffered water injury.
Marc Asnin

He despatched one other word the following day saying “Keep us posted and sincere apologies.”

The turnabout got here in April when a lawyer for Costolo’s insurer, Chubb, mentioned the art work may very well be despatched out for restore after which reneged, authorized papers say.

Rockburne doesn’t have the estimated $576,000 to restore the artwork, the suit says.

Dorothea Rockburne
Artwork from Rockburnes’s time as a scholar at Black Mountain College was among the many items that have been damaged.
Marc Asnin

Irwin Rochman, a lawyer representing Rockburne, mentioned Costolo’s failure to cease the leak rapidly had “an immoral aspect to it.”

“It’s not simply careless or reckless behavior. It’s intentional and irresponsible behavior,” Rochman mentioned. “It’s willful.”

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