UK & World News

  • 3 March 2014, 15:19

Hermit Paid $17m To Move Out Of Mouldy Room

A hermit who refused to move out of his mouldy apartment at the top of a New York hotel was paid $17m (£10m) by developers to leave, it has been revealed.

Herbert Sukenik was one of four recluses who stood in the way of the Zeckendorf brothers knocking down the Mayflower Hotel and replacing it with 15 Central Park West - which is now home to baseball player Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez, Denzel Washington and Sting.

Mr Sukenik, who was 73 at the time, received more than the others after refusing to budge from his run-down, 350-square-foot room for two years.

As well as a multimillion-dollar payout, Mr Sukenik bagged a $2m (£1.19m) replacement home at the cost of just $1 (60p) a month.

Details of his stubbornness were revealed in a book called House Of Outrageous Fortune by Michael Gross.

The four hermits had lived in rent-controlled apartments at the top of the Mayflower Hotel for up to 35 years each.

One was 98 and had relatives in Mexico. The second was an ageing celebrity agent, also in his 90s. Both accepted multimillion-dollar payouts.

A third went by the name David Jordan, but the developers discovered his real name was Arthur MacArthur IV - making him the son of the famous World War II general Douglas MacArthur.

He got just $650,000 (£387,000) in the deal.

According to the book, it was Mr Sukenik who kicked up the biggest fuss.

"Herbert Sukenik's profile was a nightmare," said Will Zeckendorf. "Hugely intelligent, a PhD, unmarried, embittered, a loner, disconnected from society and too smart for his own good. He was not a poor man; he had independent means."

The payout was finally accepted in 2005.

Mr Sukenik died aged 80 living in his luxurious replacement home.

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