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Celebrity chef Madison Cowan has failed to pay rent on his Brooklyn apartment for over four years, totaling over $145,000 in back payments according to his landlord, Gus Sheha. Cowan, a former champion on Food Network shows such as “Chopped” and “Iron Chef,” has not paid rent since January 2020 and has used legal loopholes such as appealing eviction orders to remain in his State Street apartment. Sheha expressed frustration with the situation, claiming that the system is broken and unfairly punishes landlords like himself who still have to cover expenses such as insurance, taxes, and water.

Cowan initially took advantage of a pandemic-driven state moratorium on evictions from March 2020 through mid-January 2022. Despite judges ordering his eviction on five separate occasions, he has managed to avoid being kicked out by filing new appeals each time. Sheha and his brother John, who co-own the building, were recently notified of Cowan’s latest appeal when they arrived with a city marshal to evict him. Cowan claimed to be receiving advice on avoiding eviction from State Attorney General Letitia James and even pretended to call her office to seek assistance, although James’ office denied any knowledge of this contact.

Cowan is set to appear in Brooklyn Housing Court for the latest eviction attempt, but has not returned phone calls and refused to open the door when approached by the media. An hour later, police officers responded to a 911 call regarding a supposed “crime in progress” in the building, but determined that no crime had occurred. It remains unclear who made the call. Despite the ongoing legal battles, Cowan continues to occupy the apartment without paying rent, exploiting the system to remain in the space despite owing a significant amount of money.

The landlord, Gus Sheha, has been left in a difficult position, losing out on a substantial sum of money in unpaid rent while still having to cover various property expenses. Sheha described the situation as absurd and suggested that it is driving people out of New York due to the broken system that favors tenants over landlords. He expressed frustration at the lack of consequences for Cowan’s actions and the challenges faced by property owners in such situations. Despite numerous eviction orders and legal proceedings to remove him, Cowan has managed to remain in the apartment through appeals and delays, leaving Sheha and his brother with limited options to resolve the issue.

As a well-known figure in the culinary world, Madison Cowan has catered events for high-profile clients such as former President Bill Clinton and actress Scarlett Johansson. However, his reputation has been tarnished by the ongoing rent dispute with his landlord and the allegations of exploiting the legal system to avoid paying rent. The case highlights the challenges faced by both landlords and tenants in navigating the legal landscape surrounding eviction proceedings, particularly in a city like New York where the housing market is highly competitive and complex. The outcome of Cowan’s latest court appearance and the future of his tenancy in the apartment remain uncertain as the legal battle continues to unfold.

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