Real Estate & Property Law

Neighbor of chief federal prosecutor faces graffiti charge for tagging boundary fence

An 82-year-old neighbor of a federal prosecutor in New York City is facing a graffiti charge for tagging a boundary fence between their properties.

However, a lawyer for Sylvia Kordower-Zetlin said his client was simply protecting herself against a potential adverse-possession claim when she marked the fence, reports the New York Daily News. The fence was put up by Arlo Devlin-Brown, who serves as chief of the public corruption unit of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

Zetlin, a retired teacher, contends the fence is on her property and held up a can of spray paint for a photo published with the article. She also said Devlin-Brown is bullying her. “He should be protecting me, not getting me arrested,” she told the newspaper, pointing out that she is a widow and he works for the government.

Her lawyer, Jonathan Reiter, who is also her son-in-law, said, “My client was completely in the right. The fence is actually partially on the defendant’s property and she marked that fence … to prevent the complainant from acquiring prescriptive rights by adverse possession of her property.”

Devlin-Brown’s wife, Daniela Kempf, who teaches at Barnard College, told the Daily News that Kordower-Zetlin regularly harasses the family. Kempf says that Kordower-Zetlin has even gotten up on a ladder to shout abuse to them, and makes being in their backyard a hellish experience, even with the privacy fence.

“It’s an ongoing dispute,” said assistant district attorney Justin Chung at Kordower-Zetlin’s arraignment on Wednesday. “The defendant was going onto what the complainant believes to be his property and refuses to stop coming over.”

Cooley law school confirms layoffs, but not numbers

Gay-marriage opponents cite SCOTUS summary dismissal in 1972; is it still good law?

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy. Flag comment for moderator.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.