Jefferies CEO Says He Sued on Tribeca Neighbors’ Behalf

Jefferies Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Richard Handler said he sued to stop construction of a roof deck across the street from his Tribeca apartment on behalf of his neighbors, according to an e-mail to employees.

“I took the lead to help our neighborhood oppose what we know will be a major nuisance and disruption to our lives,” Handler, 51, said in the March 31 correspondence, the contents of which were confirmed by a Jefferies spokesman. “You can be assured we are not going after the city in any way and are only asking for their help in dealing with a huge potential problem.”

Handler, who indirectly owns the penthouse apartment at One York Street, filed a petition in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on March 25 against the city’s building commissioner, Robert LiMandri, and the owner of 50 Varick Street, to stop a construction project there and have its permits revoked. Residents of the building face “significant noise and light impingements from the project and future roof deck use as a late night rooftop bar,” according to the petition.

50 Varick mostly housed fiber-optics networks for telecommunications carriers until recently. It is being converted into an outpost for Spring Studios, a London-based fashion and marketing firm, with spaces for photography studios, offices, a restaurant and bar and event spaces, according to the petition.

Apology Offered

The project also includes plans for a 20,000-square-foot roof deck with a capacity of 729 people. The plan doesn’t comply with zoning laws and the owner evaded Department of Buildings review by filing permits for the project as “professional certifications,” according to the petition.

Bradford Sussman, a lawyer representing Spring Studios, said the company had no control over the construction process and that it wanted “to be good neighbors.”

“We have worked with our neighbors and the Community Board to address any and all concerns,” Sussman said today in an e-mailed statement. “Spring’s application has not requested a bar on the roof.”

Handler told employees he wrote the e-mail to apologize for “recent distractions in the media concerning me,” including stories that portrayed him as a “tone-deaf one-percenter.”

Here Is The City, a financial news website, reported the e-mail earlier today.

Handler became CEO of Leucadia National Corp. last month when the investment firm finished acquiring New York-based Jefferies. He still also runs the investment bank.

Jefferies paid Handler $19 million for fiscal 2012 and approved $39 million in restricted stock awards for the next three years. The pay package for the year ended Nov. 30 was a 36 percent increase from a year earlier and included a $5 million cash bonus, $13 million in stock and a $1 million salary, the company said in January.

The case is Raesky LLC v. LiMandri, 100490/2013, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).