by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau
May 3, 2013
NEW YORK– 77 Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York, is also known as “The Griffon”.
Realtors attest that this exclusive community in an elegant pre-war building is coveted by many.
It was built in 1924 by Margon and Glaser. The 217-unit apartment building has 15 floors.
Each floor has no more than 4 units per floor. It also has a rooftop landscaped with the views of the Empire State and Chrysler building.
Senator Loren Legarda’s $700,000 1-bedroom condo unit is found on the 10th floor.
“Being a pre-war building, it has a good space. Like the one-bedroom, one-bath in this building is about 700 square feet…about 70 square meters,” said Edwin Josue, an associate real estate broker of Halstead Properties.
Legarda admitted Thursday that she owns the condo unit and it has been declared on her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.
This is in contrary to the accusations made by Louis Biraogo – a self-proclaimed public interest advocate.
According to Legarda, what she has declared is only her part of the property because the unit is partly owned by 3 others.
However, a copy of the deed and power of attorney obtained by ABS-CBN from the New York City register shows that the condo unit is solely under Legarda’s name.
A Park Avenue address is a luxury most people can’t afford. Most condos in the area are worth at least $1 million.
Some of Legarda’s famous neighbors at 77 Park Ave. include the Rockefellers, supermodel-turned-carnival-queen Bessie Badilla, and fashion mogul Josie Natori’s folks.
Realtors say buying a condo at The Griffon is not quite easy.
“She bought it in 2006, that apartment is way over $700,000… $800,000 by this time,” Josue said.
“This building actually does get all the financial documents from the perspective purchaser in the building, so they also screen also who are buying in the building so that at least they know that it will be a good neighbor to them,” he added.
Some Filipino residents in the area say Legarda’s son is currently staying at the condo.
Legarda blasts ‘gutter politics’
Legarda, meanwhile, described the alleged smear campaign against her as “gutter politics.”
She said a misinformation campaign against her is part of black propaganda meant to pull down her consistent top ranking in election surveys.
“The certification I have in my hand, prepared by my lawyers, is clear: The Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) I filed in June 30, 2007 includes the New York property subject of the black propaganda, described as ‘Other Investment’ in Annex A, in the amount of P 7,175,000 equal to one-fourth of the total investment in the acquisition of apartment amounting to P 28,700,000,” she said in a press statement.
“Beginning December 31, 2007 up to December 31, 2010, the same property was also included on the SALN described as ‘Equity in Real
Property’, also one-fourth of the total P 28,700,000. As of December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2012 the New York property was also included in my SALN described as ‘Real Property-USA,'” she added.
“It’s political season and I have survived to answer clearly all the black propaganda hurled against me. I challenge the source of all this to come clean. I ask other candidates to stick to what we as candidates can do to address the problems facing the country,” Legarda said. – with a report from ANC