Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Queens servant rejects snobby Manhattan co-op board before they reject him

From the Wall Street Journal:

Indra B. Tamang, who grew up in a mud house in a farming village in Nepal, has reached a pinnacle of society after more than three decades of loyal service as a butler, cook and caretaker to a socially prominent American family.

The cook became the master—as the inheritor of two apartments at the Dakota, the legendary West Side apartment building, and a valuable collection of Russian surrealist art—after the death last year at the age of 98 of Ruth Ford, a film and stage actress who was the wife of Zachary Scott, a dashing Hollywood star.

Now 57 years old, Mr. Tamang has a wife and three daughters and owns a two-family home in the Woodside section of Queens. Mr. Tamang also owns the house in Katmandu where he first worked for Mr. Ford.

In addition, he now has a multimillion-dollar inheritance and the views of a co-op board to consider. He became a U.S. citizen last year, more than 20 years after first applying for citizenship, with the help of Ms. Ford.

In her will, accepted for probate last month in Surrogate's Court in Manhattan, Ms. Ford turned over her entire estate including the apartments and an art collection, with the exception of her clothing and costume jewelry, to Mr. Tamang.

Several brokers said it was unlikely that the Dakota's co-op board, known as one of the most fastidious and unpredictable in the city, would let a former staffer live in the building. A spokeswoman for Prudential Douglas Elliman, which manages the building, declined to comment.

Even though an heir can be the beneficiary of shares in a co-op, the board can refuse to approve the transfer of the shares or can block the right of the beneficiary to live in the building under the basic co-op document known as a proprietary lease.

The issue may not even come up. Karin P.E. Gustafson, an estate attorney who is Mrs. Ford's executor, said that after discussing the taxes and other expenses of the estate, Mr. Tamang agreed to put one of the units, Ms. Ford's three-bedroom apartment, on the market.

Asked if he thought the board would approve him, Mr. Tamang said he didn't know. "I am satisfied living where I am," he added.



Anonymous said...

Great story.

georgetheatheist said...

He lives on 63rd Street in Woodside on a very exciting block: cater-cornered from an ancient tree saved by an historic-minded developer and down the street from Walter McCaffrey.

This site is so-o-o educational.

Anonymous said...

good for him.

Anonymous said...

Better alone than in Bad Company.

Now the servant is in very exclusive company along with Ex-President Nixon whom co-op snobs also didn't want.

Anonymous said...

This man probably has more class than everyone on that snooty board.

Anonymous said...

Landmarks West territory.

Anonymous said...

I like this story AND HIM!!!

Anonymous said...

Damn these things only happen in Manhattan... Sad to say it's like the story of the Doorman who married a tenant in one of those Upper East Side buildings and they tried to evict her for it.

Lame Queens.... Only can produce 25$ massage palors and two dollar taco huts.

I'll be a "slave" for twenty years in manhattan to inherit some WASPY fortune.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that where Rosemary had her baby (in the 60s Polanski film)?

It's an evil building.

I wouldn't want to live there.

Now the Osborne....I'd consider.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Lame Queens.... Only can produce 25$ massage palors and two dollar taco huts.


You're overpaying. I know a place where it only costs 15 for a hour massage.

Anonymous said...

the "DAKOTA" was built by Edward Clark in 1884,who made his fortune with the Singer sewing machine company.
Lauren Bacall ,former actress and wife of Humphrey Bogart lives there. She sponsored campaign fund raisers for both bill and hillary clinton.

E. Clarks granddaughter,Jane Forbes Clark is managing director of the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame.
an official at the hall recently refused to invite left wing actors S.Sarandon and T.Robbins to the hall anniversary, where the movie "Bull Durham" was shown. the official is a great American patriot.
goole and wikipedia Jane Forbes Clark for more info.

Patrick Sweeney said...

No one mentioned it, so I will: the Dakota is where John Lennon was living and where Mark David Chapman stalked and killed him. Chapman currently resides in Attica State Prison.

Anonymous said...

Instant Karma is gonna get you.

Instant Karma being Mark Chapman.
You Being John Lennon.

RIP Mark Chapman.