NATIONAL Security Minister Edmund Dillon said yesterday that his US$10 sale of a luxury New York City apartment back to its original owner, his friend, Neville Piper, was done “voluntarily.”
“My interest has never been in the property. It was a gift to me and therefore I returned the gift. Simple as that,” Dillon told reporters at a graduation ceremony for the Civilian Conservation Corps at the Regiment Headquarters in Aranguez. This is his first public statement since news of the sale was reported.
On Sunday, Newsday reported that a deed and property transfer report from the New York City Department of Finance, dated April 4, listed Dillon as the seller and Piper as the buyer for an apartment in a complex located at 301 Cathedral Parkway, just north of Central Park.
Dillon had appeared before the New York Supreme Court on April 4 to settle a property dispute brought against him by Piper’s niece, Esther Nicholls, who alleged he defrauded her uncle of the property and his bank account. Dillon has maintained that he and Piper were “best friends” in La Brea, and he received the property as a gift.
While Dillon was adamant that the sale was his decision, as opposed to a court order, the reason for the sale as listed on the transfer report, under section 14 (I) as other unusual factors affecting sale price, was as “return of interest in subject property (second part illegible).”
The average price per square foot at the exclusive Towers on the Park III, where the apartment is located, is US$1,122 (TT$7,517), with a one bedroom unit starting at US$500,000 (TT$3.35 million), and a two-bedroom unit at US$849,000 (TT$5.7 million), according to NYC real estate website, cityrealty.com.
(With reporting by Ryan Hamilton-Davis)