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Estonia’s Landlord Gets Sued

All that wasted kroon.

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There’s no such thing as diplomatic immunity in landlord-tenant disputes. When Tiina Intelmann, Estonia’s ambassador to the U.N., took a two-bedroom apartment in a townhouse on East 52nd Street last month, her government paid more than $100,000 in rent and fees. That’s a lot of kroon. But when she moved in, she allegedly found busted doors and windows, no gas service, inadequate power, and leaky plumbing, rendering it uninhabitable. So Estonia’s suing to get her money back (also claiming slander, alleging that the landlord told the neighbors that she’s “crazy”). The landlord, New Start, says she didn’t set up her phone, gas, and electric before she moved in and notes that her heating and cooking had been converted to electric because of a leaky gas main on the street. And in any case, the landlord says, she’s still living there, even though she’d been told she’d get a refund if she left. “It’s an unbelievable scandal,” says Intelmann’s attorney, Gale Elston. “They’re here to work on issues like world peace, and yet they’ve been treated so bad.”


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