New York

Swanky Manhattan Co-Op Sues Florist Couple Over ‘Abhorrent' $32,000 ‘Graveyard' Flower Arrangement

The finished product was such a nightmare, the complaint alleges, that it had to be disassembled and tossed in storage immediately

What to Know

  • A Manhattan co-op building is suing a florist couple over an allegedly "abhorrent" display they delivered for a lobby renovation project
  • The floral arrangement was supposed to be "museum-like;" the co-op paid more than $30,000 for it and says it looked like a graveyard
  • According to a report, an attorney for the florist couple flatly denies the allegations and says the case will be resolved in their favor

The owner of a swanky Upper East Side co-op is suing a husband and wife whose floral company allegedly whipped up a flower arrangement that looked like a graveyard when they were asked to design a "sculpture of movement and beauty" for a renovation project. 

According to the Nov. 15 complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Catherine Sviba and husband Barry Karlin promised to provide the residents of 370 East 76th Street a "custom, high-class, 'museum-like' landscape and sculpture design' as part of a six-figure lobby renovation at the 19-story luxury tower. 

Instead, the couple delivered an arrangement that "resembled a tombstone/graveyard setting that looked nothing like the design Defendants supplied and was of such poor workmanship and quality that it had to be disassembled, removed and is now in storage," the complaint alleges.

Newport East Inc., which owns the building, now wants the $32,662.50 back -- plus interest -- that it paid the couple. 

According to the complaint, the building and the couple had meetings back in December 2017 regarding the "decorations." A proposal was drawn up Sviba and Karlin; the decorations were to resemble "a museum like exhibit" made with "fine silks, assorted rocks, field stones, birch limbs and branches of a garden of sort." Included in the proposal: a detailed drawing of how the finished arrangement should look. The couple was compensated $32,662.50 in three checks. 

The building approved the presentations made in the proposal, but had no other involvement in the design, construction or installation, which, the complaint says, was completed in June. 

"Once unveiled, it took one glance for Plaintiff to realize that it had been greatly deceived," the complaint says. 

It goes on to describe the work as "so abhorrent" that the couple was ordered to disassemble the arrangement and store it on the building's property. The complaint says the building asked for its money back several times and the couple refused. 

Sviba and Karlin have 20 days to answer the complaint or serve a notice of appearance. 

A lawyer for the florists, Alan Bushlow, flatly denied the allegations, telling The New York Post, “My clients intend to vigorously defend this matter and are confident that it will be resolved in their favor." 

The building in question has more than 350 units and 19 floors, including a heated rooftop swimming pool and other amenities. The complaint did not include photo exhibits of the display or the illustrations described in the proposal. The Post obtained one of the display.

Contact Us