‘Wellness’ experts shirk $349,000 rent in Upper East Side eviction battle: lawsuit

A chiropractor and his wife who are regulars on the Hamptons social scene are breaking their Manhattan landlord’s back — failing to pay $349,000 in rent on a posh Upper East Side townhouse, according to court documents.

Darren Pollack and Sharon Russo first rented the $5 million East 84th Street home just blocks from Gracie Mansion in November 2019, agreeing to shell out $19,000 a month during a two-year lease.

But the couple, who own a $2 million Southampton house and send their two kids to a $56,000-a-year Manhattan prep school, stopped paying the rent once the pandemic hit in March 2020, claims landlord Morris Gad, a well-known diamond dealer.

Gad, who bought the 1890 row house as an investment with his adult children Michael Gad and Sara Tsur, said he tried to work with the Pollacks — who court records show have been accused of stiffing another landlord, fellow chiropractors and even American Express.

Shannon and Darren Pollack have been accused of failing to repay several other debts.
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images

Faced with their own expenses from the property, including $31,000 in tax bills, the landlords offered to reduce the rent to just $10,000 a month for the 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom home, which features 3.5 baths, a chef’s kitchen and a garden.

But the Pollacks, who claimed their Dasha Wellness spa and event space at Park Avenue and East 57th Street was “destroyed” by coronavirus shutdowns, never signed the agreement to cement the cheaper rate and stopped paying altogether once the Gads sued them in October 2020 for the full rent, the landlords charge.

“Not only is he bilking them and living rent-free, but thumbing his nose at them,” said attorney Christina Smyth, who reps the Gads.

UES Rent:New York -  Real estate of townhouse at 422 East 84th St. rented by the Pollacks.  Dr. Darren Pollack, a chiropractor and his wellness expert  wife, Shannon, owe over $350,000 rent on the property and won’t turn over the keys until school’s out.
Darren Pollack, a chiropractor, and his wellness expert wife, Shannon, owe almost $350,000 in rent to the landlord of an East 84th Street townhouse.
Helayne Seidman

The chiropractor claims through a lawyer that he honored the new deal for a reduced rent until the Gads “despicably” sued, said Pollack attorney Gregory Skiff, adding the Gads “pretended like the agreement to reduce the rent never happened.” 

Pollack has also shelled out thousands for repairs to a backed-up sewer line and new molding to keep out mice. They paid $7,773 for drapes, according to court papers.

Any repairs the Pollacks requested were made right away, the landlords told The Post.

With New York’s pandemic-inspired eviction moratorium in place until Jan. 15, the Pollacks have simply stayed put, failing to pay and refusing to leave.

656 David Whites Ln,
Southampton, NY
The couple owns a $2 million Southampton house.
Google Maps

But that hasn’t stopped the pair from spending time in the Hamptons, traveling to Florida, and giving a large donation to a Long Island charity event, according to social media.

“They are abusing the system,” Smyth observed.  

Gad even offered to forgive the past due rent if the Pollacks moved out, but the couple wants to wait until June 2022 – after school is done.

The Pollacks are no strangers to financial disputes.  

Dasha Wellness got $107,000 in pandemic loans to pay its employees at their wellness space at 115 E. 57th St., while allegedly failing to pay their company’s landlord more than $142,000 at Dasha’s 28 W. 44th St. location, court and government records show.

Pollack has also been sued by two former chiropractic colleagues who have accused him in court papers of taking extra funds — with one winning a judgment for more than $50,000. And in July 2016, American Express sued Pollack for a $94,269 debt.