Loss of Deposit for Improper Cancellation of Contract on Punchlist Deficiency Grounds

The August 21st New York Times reports that a $4.7M deposit was forfeited by Roberta Campbell, ex-wife of Intuit Chairman William Campbell in a co-op deal gone awry. Seems the Federal Judge was unimpressed with the reasons asserted for attempted termination after the pre-closing inspection. It appears she attempted to turn punch list items into a cause for cancellation. It also appears she and her then husband entered into the $18.75M contract just as the real estate market was starting to tank. Judge William Pauley even noted that the buyers may have made a ‘wise lifestyle decision’ in attempting to walk from the deal.

Worry not, as she ended up purchasing an apartment on Central Park West for a cool $17.5M. But the moral of the story: Punch list items do not a breach make, especially if the value has dropped off the ledge.

James E. Jaworski is a Senior Partner at WJ&L. He also heads up our Real Estate Department and actively practices in Land Use and Development areas.

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