The former Gabonese ambassador to the United Nations broke a long-term lease and owes the balance of that agreement, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York on Monday.
Stuart and Sherri Friedman allege in a complaint in Friedman v. Mission of the Gabonese Republic, No. 17-cv-08142, that they rented their property in Rye, New York, to Baudelaire Ndong Ella, the former ambassador from the coastal central African nation. According to the complaint, the property has been leased to Ella since August 2015.
An extension of the lease was reached in May to rent the property until the end of July 2019 at $16,000 per month, plaintiffs say.
In an exhibit attached to the complaint, an apparent aide to Ella emailed Sherri Friedman on Aug. 28 to tell her Ella had been moved to another country and that the mission felt compelled to cancel the new lease.
In the complaint, plaintiffs argue that the Gabonese mission breached its lease and remains on the hook for the duration agreed on, from October 2017 to July 2019, for a cost of $325,000. Plaintiffs are seeking that amount plus interest.
Meister Seelig & Fein partner Kevin Fritz represents the plaintiffs. He could not be reached for comment.
An attempt to reach a Gabonese official for comment was unsuccessful. No attorney was listed as counsel in court documents.