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What’s Fair at the Mayfair?

Ambassador-tenant dispute.


John L. Loeb Jr.’s sense of diplomacy is failing him. The banking scion and former ambassador to Denmark has been putting the squeeze on an elderly lawyer with Parkinson’s disease and his wife. Since 1964, Claude and Yvonne Kleefield have lived in a rent-stabilized two-bedroom that Loeb bought in the late seventies in the Mayfair Towers on West 72nd Street. In 2003, when the couple mistakenly didn’t return an income-certification form, Loeb filed to deregulate the apartment, which would likely double their $2,300 rent. After two years’ litigation, the rent administrator ruled against Loeb last November, a decision Loeb is now fighting to reverse. The Kleefields’ family members have tried, without success, to buy the apartment. “I’ve only spoken to [Loeb] once personally in twenty years, but his staff has been pleasant, notwithstanding the relentless litigation,” says the Kleefields’ son, Ed. “This is a matter of pursuing what you’re entitled to,” responds Loeb’s lawyer, Robert H. Berman. “It has nothing to do with wealth.”

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