Howard sees end to bitter dispute

It looks like a bitter landlord-tenant dispute is finally over. And no one is happy about it.

I’ve been telling you about this since last fall. Luisa Esposito lives in a house in West Hempstead that she has rented from Roy Tuccillo.  She’s lived there for more than 13 years.  But last summer the landlord was having the roof repaired.  His workers didn’t cover it properly as a big storm approached.  The result:  according to Luisa was a massive leak, a house full of mold and health problems.

Luisa says she can’t just move because she has two beautiful Akitas and most landlords don’t want dogs.

So, this litigation has dragged on and gotten bitter.  Luisa withheld rent and Roy Tuccillo withheld repairs.

On the day of trial both of them seemed ready to go at it.  But the cooler heads of their attorneys prevailed. They settled.  Luisa won’t have to pay back rent and she has to be out by July 25th.

Neither party seems happy with the deal.

“I’m numb,” Luisa told me afterwards. “I did not expect it to go this way. I really did want to go to trial to expose everything.”

 I asked her attorney; Ed Griffith to explain why taking the deal is a good move for her. “Well, it’s a cliché a good settlement is one that both parties are disappointed in.”

 As for the landlord, I asked Tuccillo if he’s happy with the settlement. “No, but I’m very happy that the circus is over.”

 “We lost a substantial amount of money that we were owed,” Tuccillo’s attorney Charles Casolaro said. “To finally get this thing done my client agreed to wave it…”It’s painful, but the right one (decision).”

Luisa still has another case with the landlord pending in state court.  We’ll see how that pans out.