When Neighbors Attack: Dr. Chynn's Hot Tub of Horrors

As a Harvard-educated eye surgeon, Dr. Emil William Chynn has perfected the art of LASIK surgery. And after years of raging against the wealthy owner of a derelict building on his block, he's perfected the angry email screed. Behold.

Twenty-two seething, OVERLY CAPTALIZED bullet points comprise the 2,700-word epic CC'ed to more than 65 recipients, including the PR department of the Glenn Beck Show, the Times Letters section, A Fox Channel 5 reporter, Craig Karmin of the Wall Street Journal, etc. The target of Chynn's email wrath: A rundown property at 33 Cornelia St. in the West Village. According to city records, the building is owned by Dr. Kathe Sackler, a philanthropist from a family who made millions in pharmaceuticals. (The family company, Purdue Pharma, makes Oxycontin, and the Times of London put the family's worth more than $454 million in 2008.)

When Neighbors Attack: Dr. Chynn's Hot Tub of Horrors

To his neighbors on Cornelia St., Dr. Chynn—who runs Park Avenue Laser Vision—is well-known for his fixation on Number 33. He frequently complains about the graffiti on its brick face, the broken sidewalk out front and the rich absentee owner who doesn't care enough to clean it up. The first time one former neighbor met him on the street, Chynn asked for his email address to include in a petition demanding the property be fixed up. Later, the neighbor received an email from Chynn containing unsolicited information about his strange living situation: "His first email to me says: 'Hope to see you around the hood. I have a non-rent-paying housemate. A Six-foot blond model. She seems to think she can stay there without paying because she's all that,'" said the neighbor. Chynn then asked the neighbor to make sure his bombshell housemate wasn't carting off his stuff during the day. Chynn also has a dog named Hershey, whom he calls "the block mascot."

When Neighbors Attack: Dr. Chynn's Hot Tub of Horrors

The neighbor has since moved away but is still on the extensive list that receives a copy of each angry email Chynn sends Sackler whenever something new pisses him off about 33 Cornelia St. And while he's sent some good ones in the past, the email Chynn sent out this afternoon should be taught in undergraduate creative writing classes as a study in long-simmering rage brought to a boil. "It was definitely the longest and he definitely seems the most agitated," the neighbor said. Probably because, this time, 33 Cornelia St. complained about him. Or rather, his hot tub:

Dear Dr. Chynn,

the tub has not been removed from the alley. we spoke about this over a month ago and you assured me it would be removed and placed on your property.Can you please have it moved this week? thanks,
Lee

An hour-and-a-half of ferocious typing later, Chynn unleashed his response:

As building manager of 33 Cornelia St. or whatever your title is working for Kathe Sackler MD, I find it highly insulting that all you or she cares about is a stupid hottub that I can move when I get back from Europe, and you ignore ALL of the following points:

He then lists twenty-two paragraph-length items of complaint. Years of being daily insulted by 33 Cornelia St's Grafitti-strewn facade and overhanging branches spill out in a sprawling howl of grievance. He details how he's been forced to become the de facto landlord, fixing up the property by:

b. putting out rat poison in the alleyway, you and she never do that, do you think that just happens magically, and dont you think you have an obligation to get an extermintor to come quarterly, not just when neighbors call NYC to complain? i mean, kathe is worth over $100 mil, you think she might take care of property some more

Throughout the email, Chynn takes many more digs at Sackler's dirty drug money:

e. as we both know, Kathe Sackler, MD, although she is an heir to a billion-dollar fortune by the founder of the drug company that makes a BILLION dollars in sales EVERY YEAR on oxy-contin (you know, the company that allegedly fabricated internal documents showing that Oxy was indeed addictive, but they hid this and marketed as non-addictive, so now it's probably the #1 prescription drug that is abused by people addicted to a prescription pain killer, and that they might have to pay a huge fine to FDA—but who cares about that, right?)

And our personal favorite:

i. because of the chronic decrepit state of her property and the front and back buildings, i actually contacted one of her many lawyers, who is ccd on this email, and OFFERED TO WORK AT A NOMINAL TOKEN COST TO MAINTAIN THE PROPERTY MYSELF. i think i offered to remove rubbish from the yard, check to make sure the door was locked, sweep the sidewalk, and remove snow for $100 a week. NOW I AM THE #1 LASEK SURGEON IN NYC AND DO NOT NEED $100 A WEEK AND MAKE AN HOURLY RATE OF ABOUT $1000 PER HOUR.

The letter continues like this for many more paragraphs, and covers the giant rats Chynn fears will eat his dog and the old couch out front he broke his toenail while moving. We learn that Chynn has resorted to emailing a board she was on to "embarrass her" into removing some graffiti. He eventually builds to an all-caps climax (Item "o."), explaining how everything could have been so much better if only a few million dollars exchanged hands:

o. I HAVE EVEN OFFERED TO BUY HER PROPERTY FROM HER FOR $3 MILLION, BUT BECAUSE I KNOW MONEY ESSENTIALLY HAS NO MEANING TO HER NOW, I OFFERED TO DO THAT WITH THE LEGALLY BINDING STIPULATION THAT I WOULD MAKE THE FRONT STRUCTURE A GALLERY THAT WOULD SHOW LOCAL NYC ARTISTS FOR FREE, AND WOULD TAKE $0 COMMISSION, AND LET THOSE ARTISTS KEEP 100% OF THE SALES PRICE, AS A WAY TO SUPPORT NEW AND STRUGGLING ARTISTS, AND WOULD NAME THE GALLERY THE SACKLER CHYNN GALLERY FOR NEW ARTISTS OR WHATEVER SHE WANTED AS SHE SEEMS TO LIKE SUPPORTING THE ARTS,

How much longer before windows start getting smashed? Why has the rich and mysterious Kathe Sackler, MD, left such a lucrative West Village property unoccupied and in shambles for years? And will Chynn ever move that damn hot tub? We've reached out to Chynn and Sackler's rep and will include their comments if they email back. In the meantime, feel free to read the entire email.

March 23, 2011 Update: According to numerous sources, this email actually did prompt the mysterious Kathe Sackler to clean up her property. So, good job, Dr. Chynn!

Dear Lee,

As building manager of 33 Cornelia St. or whatever your title is working for Kathe Sackler MD, I find it highly insulting that all you or she cares about is a stupid hottub that I can move when I get back from Europe, and you ignore ALL of the following points:

1. i tried to get my contractor to move it before but he was lazy so only moved the ballister and granite counter

2. im in EUROPE now and will not be back until NEXT MONTH so CANNOT HELP MANAGE THIS PROJECT FROM UKRAINE

3. your employer's building has many violations and i have been helping fix her property up myself, without compensation, on my own, including the following:

a. cleaning out refuse in her yard to prevent rats, i have taken out a dozen contractor bags of garbage from her space that was not mine, but i dont want rats in that courtyard as they will go into my house

b. putting out rat poison in the alleyway, you and she never do that, do you think that just happens magically, and dont you think you have an obligation to get an extermintor to come quarterly, not just when neighbors call NYC to complain? i mean, kathe is worth over $100 mil, you think she might take care of property some more

c. sweeping in front of your client's decrepit house, i have never, ever, once seen you or anyone hired by her do this, i do this weekly, again without pay, but because i don't want myh property looking like crap because the sidewalk next door is full of trash

d. removing a dumped couch in front of her property, it took me and my contractor to do this together as it was a very heavy couch, i dropped it on my foot and lost my big tie nail for SIX MONTHS—now, forgive me for being pissed, but why do I HAVE TO DO THE CLEANUP WORK FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYER KATHE SACKLER SHOULD BE DOING?

e. as we both know, Kathe Sackler, MD, although she is an heir to a billion-dollar fortune by the founder of the drug company that makes a BILLION dollars in sales EVERY YEAR on oxy-contin (you know, the company that allegedly fabricated internal documents showing that Oxy was indeed addictive, but they hid this and marketed as non-addictive, so now it's probably the #1 prescription drug that is abused by people addicted to a prescription pain killer, and that they might have to pay a huge fine to FDA—but who cares about that, right?)

f. we both know that kathe is cheaping out by having you, who is some kind of assistant for her, handle this property, although you are not either a property manager or superintendant or handyman. why is a woman who is worth over $100 MILLION dollars and destined to inherit a BILLION dollars too cheap to hire a proper building manager and superintendent? i know this is not your fault, and you are really trying to be a good guy and just tack this on to your regular duties, but shouldn't you refuse and tell her you are not really qualified to handle this assignment and manage the property properly?

g. kathe sackler's property at 33 cornelia st in greenich village has been in a decrepit state for over a decade. it has been an eyesore on the block and in the west village for over ten years. the front building is falling apart, and i have seen bricks fall off from the facade, almost striking passersby. i reported loose live wiring sticking out of the building, and your boss, the owner, did absolutely nothing about this, even though i tested it with a voltage meter and found it to be live, endangering neighbors, passersby, and children. so someone in the neighhood who shall remain nameless had to cut it themselves with an insulated plier. the door to the alley is always open, allowing homeless people and drunks to hang out there, do drugs, drink, and defecate. i hired the very nice man who put in my central AC to actually install a lock on the door, at his cost, to secure YOUR OWNER'S PROPERTY—again, without compensation OR EVEN THANKS

h. there seems to be another live wire running from your client's front property to mine. again, i contacted her years ago to investigate and disconnect this, and of course she never respoded, because she never does. so i am probably going to have to contact coned to do an investigation, and probably hire an electrician to remove and cap this live wire (because it looks like hi voltage, not low like the neighbors cut). again, i highly doubt your employer will reimburse this cost, so i guess i will have to take her to court over this

i. because of the chronic decrepit state of her property and the front and back buildings, i actually contacted one of her many lawyers, who is ccd on this email, and OFFERED TO WORK AT A NOMINAL TOKEN COST TO MAINTAIN THE PROPERTY MYSELF. i think i offered to remove rubbish from the yard, check to make sure the door was locked, sweep the sidewalk, and remove snow for $100 a week. NOW I AM THE #1 LASEK SURGEON IN NYC AND DO NOT NEED $100 A WEEK AND MAKE AN HOURLY RATE OF ABOUT $1000 PER HOUR. I WAS ONLY OFFERING TO DO THIS TO MAKE MY BLOCK NICER AND MAKE THE BUILDING NEXT TO ME A BIT LESS OF AN EYESORE. OF COURSE SHE NEVER EVEN HAD THE COURTESY TO REPLY.

j. YOU NEVER REMOVE THE GRAFFITTI ON THE BUILDING WHICH CREATES AN UNSAFE ENVIRONMENT IN THE BLOCK AND DEGRADES LOCAL PROPERTY VALUES AND ENCOURAGES OTHER PEOPLE TO TAG OTHER STRUCTURES ON THE BLOCK BECAUSE THEY SEE THE GRAFFITTI ON KATHE SACKLER'S BUILDING STAY THERE FOR MONTHS AND YEARS AT A TIME. I ALREADY TOLD YOU MANY TIMES THAT IT IS FREE TO HAVE NYC REMOVE GRAFFITTI, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS CALL 311 AND CALL IT IN, AND THEY WILL SEND A TRUCK WITH CHEMICALS TO REMOVE IT, TO PREVENT NEIGHBORHOOD BLIGHT. I HAVE TRIED TO CALL MYSELF BUT THEY WILL NOT LET ME DO THIS AS I AM NOT THE OWNER. I ASKED YOU MANY TIMES TO DO THIS AND YOU SAID IT WAS HARD FOR YOU TO DO SO, AS YOU LIVE IN CONNECTICUT AND 311 WILL ONLY ACCEPT CALLS FROM A NYC AREA CODE. I MEAN, COME IN, GET A FRIEND TO MAKE THE CALL FOR YOU, IT WILL TAKE ALL OF FIVE MINUTES LEE. OR BETTER YET MAKE YOUR BOSS HIRE ME AS A HARVARD-TRAINED EYE SURGEON TO BE HER SUPER AND I WILL SPEND MY VALUABLE TIME DOING THIS FOR HER AS IT IS MAKING MY BLOCK LOOK LIKE CRAP!

k. the last time your boss's building had graffitti on it, it stayed on it for OVER A YEAR and EVERYONE ON THE BLOCK INCLUDING THE NEIGHBORS AND BLOCK ASSOCIATIONG WAS UNSUCCESSFUL COMPELLLING KATHE TO REMOVE IT AND I ACTUALLY HAD TO CC ONE OF THE BOARDS SHE WAS ON TO EMBARRASS HER INTO REMOVING IT AND THEN IT CAME OFF THE NEXT WEEK. DO YOU REALLY THINK IT IS PROPER THAT YOUR BOSS IGNORES THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND NEVER DOES THE RIGHT THING AND TAKES CARE OF HER PROPERTY UNTIL I HAVE TO SPEND MY OWN TIME GOING TO RIDICULOUS EXTREMES???

l. i realize that her family is one of the largest art patrons in the country and you can see a sackler wing in many major museums, but does giving away tens of hundreds of millions of dollars entitle her to abandon her building and leave it a decrepit eyesore?

j. there are hordes of rats in her yard, the size of cats, so large that i am afraid they will attack my dog, so i never take him with me when i clean out the refuse from her property on my own for free, as i am actually afraid that THEY will attack HIM (and he is the block mascot, by the way, so people would go crazy if anything happened to him). other neighbors have also put down rat poison for free for your heiress boss, because she is too cheap or cares so little she cannot hire an exterminator to come on contract.

k. the local school kids know her yard is abandoned, so climb over the back way after school and do drugs and drink beer (much of the debris i am always removing are beer cases and bottles and 6 packs), so your boss is indirectly promoting underage drinking and drug use by not securing her property. i also find codoms back there, so she is also indirectly promoting underage sex probably

l. the larger vacant building in the back is falling apart, the roof of both buildings are leaking badly so it is basically raining inside whever it rains heavily (you can see this from the street if you just look in the bars of the smaller building on the street). one of these days, one or the other or both will fall down on someone's head and kill them!

m. she had illegally blocked the door to the alley with a pole and cinder block and lock that could not be removed from the inside, and this is a FIRE SAFETY VIOLATION FOR BOB COHEN'S BUILDING NEXT DOOR, AS HIS TENANT'S FIRE ESCAPE EXITS INTO THE SHARED COURTYARD, SO IF THERE WERE A BIG FIRE THEY WOULD ALL BE STUCK IN THE COURTYARD AND BURN TO DEATH AND WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO EXIT INTO THE STREET, which is why i had my HVAC guy replace the ILLEGAL LOCK with one that could be opened from the inside

n. i realize that since your boss is worth over $100 million and will inherit $1 billion, having a property worth $3 million sit vacant and abandoned and fall apart is in no way, shape of form germane to her own finances. by analogy, it would be like if a normal person had a bike and some furniture sitting in his front yard, rusting and decaying, and he didn't care if he lost the $100 they were worth. but there are local town ordinances about this in small towns to protect the look of the neighborhood and property values, and i bet if the local block associations, neighbors, lawyers, government agencies, and media investigated this, there is probably some NYC ordinance whereby they can compell your boss to either fix up her property and properly maintain it, or they will condemn it and coerce her to sel it

o. I HAVE EVEN OFFERED TO BUY HER PROPERTY FROM HER FOR $3 MILLION, BUT BECAUSE I KNOW MONEY ESSENTIALLY HAS NO MEANING TO HER NOW, I OFFERED TO DO THAT WITH THE LEGALLY BINDING STIPULATION THAT I WOULD MAKE THE FRONT STRUCTURE A GALLERY THAT WOULD SHOW LOCAL NYC ARTISTS FOR FREE, AND WOULD TAKE $0 COMMISSION, AND LET THOSE ARTISTS KEEP 100% OF THE SALES PRICE, AS A WAY TO SUPPORT NEW AND STRUGGLING ARTISTS, AND WOULD NAME THE GALLERY THE SACKLER CHYNN GALLERY FOR NEW ARTISTS OR WHATEVER SHE WANTED AS SHE SEEMS TO LIKE SUPPORTING THE ARTS, AND I WOULD RUN IT FOR HER, PAY FOR THE PERSON TO STAFF IT, AND SHE COULD CHOOSE HALF OF THE ARTISTS SHE WOULD WANT TO GIVE A FREE 0 COMMISSION SHOW TO AND I WOULD CHOOSE THE OTHER HALF, LIKE WE COULD ALTERNATE MONTHS, AND THIS WOULD BE AN INCREDIBLY FANTASTIC THING FOR THE BLOCK, THE NEIGHBORHOOD AS THE WEST VILLAGE HAS LOST ALL ITS ART GALLERIES AND ART FEEL FOR MARC JACOBS STORES, AND IT WOULD INCREASE RATHER THAN DECREASE LOCAL PROPERTY VALUES, AND HELP THE RESTAURANTS ON THE BLOCK WITH MORE VISITORS, AND OF COURSE, YOU GUESSED IT—NO RESPONSE!:(

i don't know what it's going to take other than an act of god or some of the very nice people ccd on this email forwarding it to every influential person they know so they can help coerce your boss to sell her property to me so i can properly maintain it and make it into a community resource instead of an eyesore, or maybe we can get a NYC government agency to get involved, or perhaps the local community boards to help with this, or a neighborhood protest with some media coverage, or some show like shame on you

but i am telling you that what your boss kathe sackler md is doing by letting her property fall apart for over a decade and be a local graffitti covered unsafe eyesore is unconscionable, unneighborly, unethical, uncaring, possibly illegal, and will not be tolerated

so here is what i suggest:

1. get a friend who lives in nyc to call 311 and get the graffitti removed. the day after it is removed (assuming it isn't before mar 1, when i return from teaching MDs in Ukraine how to do the more advanced, safer, noncutting LASEK technique), i will recruit some neighbors and move the hottub, no problem

2. get kathe to hire a super and/or building manager, and tell me who that person is and his contact info, so i can confirm he is actually hired to maintain on a regular basis and is not just paid to do things once the neighborhood is up in arms (like you only hired an exterminator 2 years ago when another neighbor called 311 repeatedly about the rats). or she can hire me at the bargain basement price of $100/hr, or 1/10 my normal rate, so i can make sure myself that this property is at least kept out of the eyesore category

3. she should really reimburse me for sweeping her sidewalk, and removing her refuse, and replacing her lock, and shoveling her sidewalk, and replacing her illegal fire violation lock, but i bet she will not do that, probably she can't afford it or something

4. as i said to you a MONTH ago when i ASKED YOU TO REMOVE THE GRAFFITTI which has been there since the summer, PLEASE TRY TO BEG OR PLEAD OR OTHERWISE CONVINCE YOUR BOSS TO SELL HER PROPERTY TO ME, AND WE CAN RUN THE FRONT GALLERTY TOGETHER, SHE CAN CONTINUE TO BE A PATRON OF THE ARTS, AND ALSO HELP RATHER THAN KILL THE LOOK AND FEEL OF CORNELIA STREET, ONE OF THE NICEST BLOCKS IN THE WEST VILLAGE EXCEPT HER HOUSE, AND THE BIRTHPLACE OF OFF-BROADWAY AT THE BUILDING NEXT DOOR TO HERS THAT CURRENTLY HOUSES PO

i do hope you take this email more seriously than my last ones you ignored, print it out and make her read it, and try to compell her to respond in a reasonable and positive fashion, as i really have nothing against her, other than she is destroying the value of my townhouse and making my block look like crap whthn it could and should be a jewel of the city

sincerely,


Emil William Chynn, MD, MBA
Dartmouth + Columbia + Harvard + Emory + NYU-trained
1st LASIK surgeon in NYC to have LASIK himself (in '99)
Only pure refractive surgeon in NYC who exclusively performs No-Cut/Flap LASEK!
15,000+ cases - 100% Legal To Drive!
Member AAO, ASCRS, MENSA