Lux Living lawyer subpoenas Hudson tenant who spoke to Post-Dispatch | Law and order
ST. LOUIS — The attorney who represents the two brothers behind developer Lux Living is asking a tenant to hand over his text messages exchanges with other tenants to speak to the Post-Dispatch.
Cory Schmidt was quoted and photographed for an article published last month. In it, he discussed issues he and other tenants are having with Lux’s new Hudson apartment building on Pershing Avenue at DeBaliviere Place, including construction that took months longer than management let it know. promised when signing expensive leases.
“I’m speechless,” Schmidt said of the subpoena served on him last week, which also asks him to sit down for a deposition.
The subpoena is part of a lawsuit between a homeowners association controlled by Lux executives brothers Victor Alston and Sid Chakraverty and a rival developer building an apartment building on DeBaliviere Avenue near the Hudson. Lux reincorporated the long-dormant landowners’ association at the start of the rival project, arguing that it held the right to review development in the neighborhood. He then refused approval for a new 285-unit apartment complex, named Expo in Forest Park.
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Expo promoter and Alston-controlled owners association Chakraverty and their attorney, Ira Berkowitz, have been in litigation over the issue since 2020.
Berkowitz declined to comment on Schmidt’s subpoena.
Action by the homeowners association halted Expo construction for months. The Hudson, meanwhile, began moving tenants into the building even as construction was still underway, annoying some who spoke about it on an online forum. The Post-Dispatch contacted them for a report on Lux Living and other projects being developed by companies affiliated with Alston and Chakraverty.
Since the article was published, tenants of other properties owned by the Alston and Chakraverty companies have contacted the newspaper to complain about management and maintenance issues. The newspaper also looked at the problems at the Ely Walker Lofts on Washington Avenue, where Lux-affiliated individuals control the downtown building’s condo association.
Loud parties and a shooting in March at the Ely Walker Lofts unnerved residents, and tenants say management did little to limit short-term rentals or keep up with building maintenance. City officials are considering problems there as part of a broader campaign to reduce problems downtown.
Schmidt, Hudson’s tenant, said he initially received a subpoena requesting any communication with Expo developers. Schmidt surmises this was either a tactic to harass tenants who were willing to speak to the media about their issues with Lux, or because Lux believed he was part of some “sort of conspiracy” with the rival promoter to smear them. He freely admits that he emailed the management company for the other project – inquiring about an apartment because he wants to move.
He called Berkowitz, also a Clayton councilman, to tell him he hadn’t done anything on the other developer’s part. He and other tenants had been discussing issues at the Hudson for months before a reporter contacted one and set up a meeting with several residents in February.
Schmidt then received the amended subpoena requesting texts with other tenants to speak with the Post-Dispatch. Now he plans to fight him, arguing that he has nothing to do with the dispute with the Expo promoter.
“He’s harassing me already,” Schmidt said of Berkowitz. “And I’ll be damned if I’m leverage for him to sue other people.”
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