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Landlord files to have Bianca Jagger evicted

Two-year feud intensifies over Park Avenue apartment

By Andres Martinez
Court TV

NEW YORK (Court TV) -- A two-year legal battle between Bianca Jagger and her landlord could leave the environmental activist without a home.

Katz Park Avenue Corp. filed a lawsuit last week seeking to evict Jagger from her two-bedroom Park Avenue apartment.

Jagger, the ex-wife of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, stopped paying her $4,600 monthly rent in July 2003, claiming that water damage in her apartment had led to harmful levels of mold.

She told New York magazine that "her eyes began to feel bleary" after she discovered the water damage in 2001. She has lived in the rent-stabilized apartment since 1988.

When Katz sued her in 2003 for the unpaid rent, Jagger responded with a $20 million personal injury suit.

"She has become essentially homeless," said Dan Bryson, Jagger's lawyer. "It has severely curtailed her ability to work."

According to New York City housing records, inspectors from the city found mold in Jagger's apartment in October 2003. They classified the mold as "immediately hazardous," and gave the owner five days to have the problem certified as corrected.

Katz' attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

Bianca Jagger married Mick Jagger in 1971 and had one daughter, Jade, with him. After they divorced in 1979, she described the award from the settlement as barely enough to support her -- especially because most of her work is charity-based.

Jagger's clothes, furniture and business documents were damaged by the water and mold, Bryson said, and doctors have documented her health ailments, popularly known as "sick building syndrome."

"We have doctors who have diagnosed respiratory-related problems, among others," he said. "Because of the respiratory problems she has been having, she can't wear [her clothes] because they are making her sick."

Katz claims contractors recently finished repairing the apartment, according to Bryson.

In May 2004, the New York State Supreme Court merged Katz' initial suit and Jagger's $20 million countersuit into a single case. A judge delayed any eviction proceedings until the end of the contract in February 2005.

In its newest filing, however, Katz says Jagger should be evicted because her lease officially ended in February 2004.

Because the apartment is rent-stabilized, Jagger must claim it as her permanent residence. Katz argues that Jagger's actual residence is London, and despite her claims that her Park Avenue apartment is uninhabitable, Jagger's assistant has been seen there.

Katz claims the apartment could fetch $8,000 a month on an unregulated market, according to the suit.

Bryson plans to depose Katz executives and contractors who repaired the apartment in May.

Court's Samantha Murphy contributed to this report.

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