Until its economy collapsed, Iceland was being hailed as one of the world’s great financial miracles. And Icelandic power couple Jon Asgeir Johannesson and Ingibjorg Palmadottir were at the forefront of the juggernaut. Johannesson is the CEO of Baugur, an investment group that at one point was the richest company in Iceland. He and his wife own cars, yachts, and homes across the world, including a full-floor apartment in New York City’s Gramercy Park Hotel that was reportedly purchased in 2007 for $10 million.
Then came the financial meltdown, which hit Iceland especially hard. Baugur filed for bankruptcy in February 2009. And now Johannesson, who has been renting out the NYC apartment to the tune of $312,000 per year (according to NBC New York), is being sued by his current tenants, a real estate company called Paramount Realty Group of America, essentially for being cheap. The accusation: That the couple installed an “ugly” IKEA kitchen in the apartment.
There are only 23 apartments (known as “residences”) in 50 Gramercy Park. The building’s website brags of custom bathrooms and kitchens by British designer John Pawson, “and the chic refinement of white oak floors, cherry wood and travertine surfaces.”
According to the suit, “The kitchen installed was not reasonably satisfactory … as it did not rise to the level of a kitchen suitable for a property located at 50 Gramercy Park North,” reported the New York Daily News. “The kitchen installed is manufactured by Ikea, which is generally known to offer low budget furniture.”
Behold the irony: Palmadottir is the Parsons-educated designer behind the 38-room 101 Hotel, a super-sleek, ultra-mod, no-IKEA-in-sight boutique hotel in Reykjavik where international hipsters, impresarios, and lotharios alike come flocking.