(NEW YORK, NEW YORK)— When Governor Cuomo expanded tenant protections in New York this June, the New York Post featured a salacious story about the kind of entitled ne’er-do-wells who could stand to benefit: namely, Sebastian Bear-McClard, whose net worth is $12 million, and his famous model girlfriend Emily Ratajowski. The two millionaires took advantage of a loft law intended to protect low-income artists as a way to stop paying their rent, demanding a buyout to fill their heavy coffers. Now, the Post reports, the landlord has finally bought out the couple, who recently bought a new $2 million home in Los Angeles.
Ratajowski and McClard had initially agreed to pay $4,900 a month in 2013 but stopped paying rent in 2017 for undisclosed reasons. They had originally asked for a $2 million buyout (exactly the price of their glamorous new home!), but no exact number on the final buyout has been released. The wealthy couple owed almost $250,000 at the time they took the buyout.
Ratajowski publicly portrayed Ghosh as an opportunistic “real estate conglomerate,” according to the Post. There is little background information about Ghosh, and no other tenants seem to have come forward against him. But there is plenty of information about Ratajowski and Bear-McClard, whose selfish behavior stirred up rage and resentment in a neighborhood where many tenants in legitimate need fought hard to put loft laws in place.
We may resent the circumstances, but it seems as if neighbors will at least be happy to have Ratajowski and her nightmare husband gone. Court documents show Ghosh, who was both a neighbor and landlord (he was subletting to Ratajowski and Bear-McClard), texting a flippant Bear-McClardto turn down his loud music many times well past midnight. Neighbor and musician Joseph Vera told The New York Post, “It’s pathetic. The idea that one of these wealthy individuals is exploiting the system to save what, for him, is chump change, is a kick in the a– to the people who made Bleecker Street what it is.” Another neighbor told the Post, “It’s really unfair… This guy [Bear-McClard] is a double-insult to our street. He’s a moneyman who can easily pay his rent and just chooses not to.” Even Carolyn Daly, a spokeswoman for local SoHo loft owners, condemned the couple with harsh words. She told the post, “Here is a prime example, in prime NYC real estate, where an uber-wealthy celebrity couple and tenant can take advantage and exploit a law that was intended for truly struggling artists and low-income families in need of affordable housing.”
Lawyers portrayed Bear-McClard as an “artist” fighting to “save his home” (or at least, one of his many homes). While it’s unclear where Bear-McClard’s wealth comes from—probably not his heavy-hitting film credits like “Bottle Poppaz”—his parents were bona fide participants of the New York’s legendary 1970s/1980s art scene, who palled around with legends like Kathy Acker. Bear-McClard is likely to gain only more clout from his recent collaboration with the Safdie Brothers, longtime friends, on Uncut Gems. Too bad success will probably only exacerbate his bad attitude.
So take your buyout Ratajowski—but you can leave your moral superiority behind, because the people aren’t buying it.