So how much did Aaron Charney get in his settlement from Sullivan & Cromwell? There has been lots of speculation, but little evidence.
Here’s one fact suggesting that he did pretty well: Aaron Charney just bought a $1.5 million Manhattan condo. As reported by Max Abelson in the New York Observer:
A deed filed in city records suggests that the Sullivan settlement wasn’t minor: Mr. Charney and a partner just paid $1.495 million for a penthouse at the newly converted condo at 93rd Street and Broadway.
According to the floor plan, they’ll have two bedrooms, a 17-foot-long living/dining room and an L-shaped terrace that stretches 50 feet on each wing….
The 987-square-foot terrace, nearly as big as the interior space, is edged by high walls, which means there’s privacy instead of views. “I would consider it extremely private, with an opportunity to take your inside living outdoors,” the broker said.
Sounds fabulous — although quite different from his former home. Charney’s new abode is in a prewar building (pictured), as opposed to the ultra-modern Orion, where he used to live. And it’s in a more staid neighborhood: the Upper West Side, as opposed to the hip and gentrifying Hell’s Kitchen.
But at $1.5 million, Charney’s new home is 50 percent more expensive than his old one, which he sold last year for a little under a million ($150K more than what he paid). So Charney is definitely movin’ on up.
More discussion, including speculation about Aaron Charney’s finances and romances, after the jump.
Update: Since this post was originally published, we’ve appended multiple updates, which appear after the jump.
As revealed by New York City property records — publicly available, for free and online, via ACRIS — Aaron Charney took out two mortgages, totaling $1.1 million, to acquire the property. Considering how lending standards have tightened since last summer’s credit crunch, even for borrowers with excellent credit, Charney must have impressed lenders with his assets. A seven-figure cash settlement from S&C, sitting in the bank, may have reassured them.
Could Charney have shown them a hefty income as well? Maybe not — it’s not clear he has new employment (at least in the legal field). In the New York State attorney directory, he’s still listed as a Sullivan & Cromwell lawyer.
But here’s one possibility that may have helped. Public records show that Aaron Charney acquired the property together with a partner, Benjamin Hanani. Perhaps Hanani is well-heeled?
Benjamin Hanani (pictured at right, or so we think; image from a now defunct Friendster profile) appears to be a 2000 graduate of Swarthmore College, which he credits with encouraging his “latent francophilia.” If this is his LinkedIn profile — and we haven’t verified that it is, but it’s the only one for a Benjamin Hanani in the New York area — he works as a retail analyst at ZBI.
We’re not exactly sure what that’s all about. But as anyone who has lived in New York for a while knows, the more inscrutable a job title, the more lucrative the gig. Working as a [blahblahblah] for a [hedge fund you've never heard of] often pays better than being an associate at a brand-name law firm of investment bank.
If you know anything about Aaron Charney, Ben Hanani, and their new real estate purchase, please email us. Thanks.
Update: We tried reaching Aaron Charney for comment. His cell phone was answered by someone who sounded like Aaron Charney. This someone asked us to identify ourselves; after we did, he hung up.
Further Update: In response to some of your comments, we have confirmed, with a college classmate of Ben Hanani, that Ben is in fact the person pictured in the above photo.
Aaron Charney Gets the Best Revenge: Ex-Sullivan & Cromwell Minion Will Live Well in $1.49 M. Condo [New York Observer]
Benjamin Hanani [LinkedIn]
Aaron Brett Charney [Attorney Directory - New York Unified Court System]
Earlier: Lawyerly Lairs: Aaron Charney Has Left the Building