The owner of Nolita boutique in Manhattan, Anya Ponorovskaya, claims that her lawyer ex tricked her into thinking they were married and now wants to kick her out of her apartment in Tribeca, according to The New York Post.
The lawyer accused in this case is Wylie Stecklow. The two were ‘married’ in front of 100 guests in Mexico in 2010. Months after tying the knot, the couple bought a $1 million apartment. Ponorovskaya paid part of the mortgage and handled major renovations. She claims she was told by Stecklow that she did not have to put her name on the deed since they were legally married.
Ponorovskaya filed for divorce in 2013, which is when she learned that the wedding was not real and her interest in the property is in jeopardy.
“He tricked me into removing my name [from the deed]. He said we’re married [and] it doesn’t matter,” she said. “I spent years renovating and almost drowned my own business. With the amount of physical labor I put into this loft, it would make me a slave to just walk away.”
Stecklow is attempting to evict Ponorovskaya from the apartment.
“He’s very, very greedy,” Ponorovskaya said. She also said that the value of their home is now close to $2 million.
Rita Warner, the woman’s lawyer, argued in court that a marriage is official if it is solemnized sufficiently, according to a law that is 107 years old. A cousin of Stecklow, who is ordained on the internet as a minister, performed the ceremony. A judge in Manhattan ruled that the marriage was not legally binding because the couple never acquire a marriage license.
“[The law] would undoubtedly come as a surprise to all those couples who patiently wait on the long lines at the Marriage License Bureau . . . to learn that, despite the instructions they were given, a marriage license is not really a requirement for marrying after all,” he wrote.
Ponorovskaya said, “He used influence over me to try to gain a Tribeca apartment that is skyrocketing in value by the day.”
The lawyer for Stecklow, Dave Thompson, said, “In the absence of a marriage, the courts generally do not, and should not, [get] involved in the parties’ private affairs.”
Ponorovskaya claims the renovations to the apartment ended their 10-year relationship. “The renovations put a strain on us,” she explained. “It was an empty space I built into a loft and it was a lot of pressure on us.”