Angered by a bright flatscreen television, a Tribeca woman has been shining bright strobe lights and a nightclub-style disco ball into her neighbor's apartment, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Civil Court. The passive-aggressive tactics started shortly after her new neighbor moved into the building in December 2014.
Suellen Epstein is accused of waging a "campaign of harassment" against Rich Miele and his family. Miele's lawsuit claims that Epstein was upset by the glare caused by his big-screen television, and "demanded" he close his blinds when it was in use. Miele instead offered to pay for high-tech blinds to be installed in Epstein's apartment—an offer that she refused.
According to court papers, what followed was an all-out illuminated assault. Miele claims that Epstein installed "a series of large extra-bright spotlights against her windows" and shone them across their building's shaftway directly into his apartment. "The spotlights cause my entire living room to spectacularly fill up with bright light every single night," Miele wrote.
Miele went on to claim that Epstein went so far as to install timers on the spotlights, so that they would shine blinding light into his home even when she was away on vacation. As the dispute progressed, Epstein also unleashed "nightclub-like" strobes and spinning colored lights, the suit alleges. Zachary Kozak, Miele's attorney, told the Post that the blinding lights are kept on as late as 3 a.m.
One of Epstein's weaponized lights is positioned to light up a hallway leading to Miele's bathroom, he claims, exposing his two young children before and after their nightly baths. "There have been times when my daughter, being a three year old child, will emerge while still inside the bathroom in the doorway without any clothing after taking a bath... and be exposed to anyone looking into the windows, including [Epstein] as a direct result of the shining spotlights into my bathroom," Miele claims.
The civil suit demands that Epstein, who has run Tribeca gymnastics company Children's Tumbling for decades, shut off and remove the lights. The Post reports that Miele already won a temporary victory in the matter after a Manhattan judge blocked Epstein from using the various lights until a June hearing settles the matter.