Private Equity Honcho Sued Over Hamptons Rental

May 7 2010 | 3:25am ET

Who would guess that a lawsuit and countersuit that include terms like “unspeakable tragedy” and “suicidal” would be a dispute over a Hamptons home rented by a private equity millionaire?

Yet “suicidal” is what Mid-Summer Dream is calling Somerset Partners’ Keith Rubenstein, who rented a Southampton, N.Y., beach house from the company for six weeks last summer. Rubenstein in February sued Mid-Summer over the $195,000 rental, accusing the company of offering an “uninhabitable” home were a “deluxe seasonal rental” was promised.

Rubenstein’s suit complained about a broken spa, heater and shades, as well as a “thorn-filled” beach path. But Mid-Summer, in its countersuit, blames Rubenstein for the poor condition of the house.

“Plaintiff flooded the premises with guests, servants and other staff beyond its capacity,” Mid-Summer alleges. The company is seeking $25,000 in damages to cover unpaid bills and damage to furniture, appliances and carpeting, Bloomberg News reports. The company is also asking for $200,000 for abuse of process.

According to Rubenstein, Mid-Summer “failed to tender the house in a safe and habitable condition,” noting that “the pool stones were also cracked and loose, a condition that, together with the presence of young children at the house, could have led to unspeakable tragedy.”

So why did Rubenstein want to stay longer?

“If the property was as dangerous as plaintiff now claims, plaintiff must have been suicidal when requesting the lease extension,” Mid-Summer retorts in its suit.

Rubenstein is seeking a minimum of $68,250 in returned rent and his $19,500 security deposit.

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