Sheepshead Bay

Remembering the bad old days: ‘Trusted manservant’ swindled restaurateur Irving Lundy

Eye On Real Estate

December 3, 2014 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
This landmarked Emmons Avenue building housed famed Lundy Brothers Restaurant. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Swindling a sick man. What kind of scum does that?

Scammers targeted Sheepshead Bay’s preeminent restaurateur, the late Irving Lundy, in the months before his September 1977 death. We just looked up the property records for 1901 Emmons Ave., the building where Lundy Brothers Restaurant was located, and found a jolting reminder of their perfidy.

The landmarked building, which still has Lundy’s name painted on the outside of it, is currently the home of Cherry Hill Gourmet Market and a couple other tenants.

In Frederick William Irving Lundy’s dying days, there was an upstairs apartment where the wheelchair-bound invalid resided with 14 Irish setters.

Lundy lived like a recluse and allowed just two people into the apartment. One was his “trusted manservant” Ciro Autorino. That’s what a 1979 indictment against Autorino and a crew of conspirators called him.

They were charged with robbing Lundy of $11 million worth of stocks, bonds, money — and real estate deeds, according to Associated Press reports.

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In city Finance Department records, we found a petition filed in 1977 in Kings County Surrogate’s Court by an executor of Lundy’s estate.

One allegation in executor Jacob Patent’s petition was that deeds Lundy purportedly executed right before his death made Cruz del Sur Investment Trust Limited, an entity on the Island of Grand Turk in the British West Indies, the grantee of various properties. The executor believed the deeds “were either forgeries or obtained under d[u]ress or by misrepresentations pursuant to a scheme or conspiracy,” the petition notes.

According to this court document, Lundy owned more than 60 parcels of land in Brooklyn, Nassau County and upstate Ulster County.

Autorino and other conspirators were convicted of theft in 1981. Prison sentences and big fines followed.

When the guilty verdict was announced, Eugene Gold, who was then the Brooklyn District Attorney, said the Lundy family had recovered $10 million worth of stolen real estate, The New York Times reported.

A postscript about 1901 Emmons Ave.: The executors of Lundy’s estate sold the property in 1981 to Litas Investing Co. for $961,860, Finance Department records indicate. In 1988, that investor sold the building to Sheepshead Restaurant Associates, which remains its owner today.

James Hatzipetros was Sheepshead Restaurant Associates’ president in 1988 and Dimitrios Kaloidis was the president in 2013, Finance Department records indicate.

The Spanish Colonial Revival building was designated a city landmark in 1992. It’s probably New York City’s sole surviving pre-World War II restaurant building with that architectural style, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report about the property.

It was constructed in 1934 for Irving Lundy “in conjunction with the government-sponsored redevelopment of the Sheepshead Bay waterfront in the mid-1930s,” the report notes.

As many as 1 million meals per year were served at the restaurant.

 

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