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Lawsuits & Litigation

Columbia Records Executive Sues Apartment Complex Over ‘Toxic Dust’

— March 2, 2022

A Columbia Records executive is suing his apartment complex after he discovered toxic dust in the building was making him sick.

Earlier this month, Columbia Records executive Julian Swirsky filed a lawsuit over allegations that he was unable to live in his “$2.3 million East Village apartment for six months after he was sickened by ‘toxic dust’ in the unit.” According to the suit, Swirsky purchased the two-bedroom unit in February 2021, a unit known for luxury amenities like a sauna, spa, steam room, and gym. 

Lady Justice; image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via
Lady Justice; image by Tingey Injury Law Firm, via

According to court records filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Swirsky’s “1,089-square-foot pad was uninhabitable because of construction defects that poisoned the air with carcinogens and toxic dust.”

Just last month, Swirsky was fired as a senior vice president at Columbia Records. According to him, he “had to do the necessary remediation and repairs to the apartment in December in order to move in because building management, the co-op, and co-op sponsor failed to do so.” Despite his remediation efforts, his health allegedly took a hit. For example, he began “experiencing severe respiratory problems and skin irritation, including swelling and ugly red blotches when using the air conditioner,” the suit states. However, when he traveled or spent long periods of time away from home, his health began to improve. 

In an effort to pinpoint the cause of his deteriorating health and after the building management refused to investigate the matter, Swirsky hired an inspector. That inspector “discovered massive amounts of construction debris and dust had been left in the HVAC system ducts including lead, gypsum, minerals and known lung cancer-causing mineral quartz,” according to the suit. The quartz levels alone were “eight times higher than normal in one of his rooms and 10 times higher in another.

On top of all that, the suit alleges “there are other problems in the building as well, including persistent leaks, mold in other units, defective flooring, and a failure to complete the supposedly first-class amenities, including the spa.” It further states:

“Having had success in his career, Swirsky was looking to take some of his hard-earned money and buy an apartment in one of the high-end newly constructed buildings in New York City with luxury owner amenities, believing that would be the best fit for his lifestyle, which includes lots of client entertainment and travel.”

The suit also claims there is a “massive cover-up at the building, which was faced with a rash of similar complaints from other unit owners, instead of addressing the problems.”

Eventually, Swirsky was able to get the issue under control “at his own cost and he’s now asking a judge to force the co-op and management company to pay him back $150,000 for the work, doctors fees, and other costs, plus another $200,000 in damages.”

When commenting on the matter, Jeffrey Mitchell, the lawyer representing Swirsky, said:

“You buy an apartment like this in the city and you have a right to expect it’s in livable condition when you move in. After much effort to try to get the developer to fix the problems, Mr. Swirsky did it himself…He’s now fixed everything and removed the contaminated materials but he can’t get reimbursed.”


Columbia Records exec sues over ‘toxic dust’ at $2.3M Manhattan apartment

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