Wants $27K From 9/11 Victim
YORK, Aug. 27, 2002
and flames billow from the World Trade
Center's north tower on Sept.
(CBS) A New York City landlord is
demanding more than $27,000 from the estate of
a Sept. 11 terrorist attack victim.
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All Rights Reserved. This material may not be
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redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters
Limited contributed to this report.
Danielle Kousoulis, 29, worked on the 104th
floor of the World Trade Center's north tower
as a vice president for Cantor Fitzgerald. She
signed a lease on a $2,500-a-month loft
apartment 10 days before a hijacked plane
crashed into her workplace.
In a letter this month, landlord Denise M.
Lyman claimed she was an unpaid creditor and
threatened to take Kousoulis' family in Haddon
Township, N.J., to court.
The New York Daily News reported that one of
the complaints against the dead woman was that
she failed to give three-months notice that
she was leaving.
"We're going through enough without
having to go through this as well,"
Danielle's mother, Zoe, told the Courier-Post
newspaper of Cherry Hill, N.J. "I can't
see how greedy people can be."
Zoe Kousoulis, the administrator of her
daughter's estate, said there have been other
problems with Lyman.
She said Lyman refused to let the family into
their daughter's apartment to get a hairbrush
for a DNA sample to identify any remains. The
family finally obtained the sample with the
assistance of the police.
Lyman did not return messages from The
Associated Press seeking comment.
In letter to Lyman from Zoe Kousoulis last
October, she told the landlord that her
daughter's apartment would be vacated by Oct.
22. Family members said they cleaned the
apartment, left the key with the doorman and
arranged for the Salvation Army to take away
When Lyman received the letter, she called
Danielle's brother-in-law, Sean Hagerty, and
demanded that nothing be removed from the
apartment, the Kousoulises said. The landlord
also told the doorman not to allow the
Salvation Army into the apartment.
Neighbors and a doorman said Lyman and her
teenage daughter moved into the apartment in
the Packard Condominium building.
Under New York state common law, a lease does
not automatically end when a tenant dies —
both parties must agree to surrender it. But
New York City attorneys and property managers
said a landlord moving into an apartment is
evidence of a surrender.
"If the landlord decided to move into it,
then she would have extinguished the
responsibility of the tenant," said
Charles Mehlman, senior vice president of the
Lefrak Organization, which owns and leases
60,000 apartments in the city.
Attorney Jack Lester, who specializes in real
estate law but is not involved in the
Kousoulis case, also said the family was under
no obligation to pay rent beyond the point the
landlord moved in.
"I think it's outrageous from a legal
standpoint, and it's even worse from a moral
and humane standpoint," Lester said.
"It's shocking that she would have no
regard for the survivors of the people that
perished in the worst attack on American
A New York City attorney is handling the
Kousoulises' case pro bono. The American Red
Cross also offered financial assistance.
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