The Cantor Fitzgerald exec accused of exploiting pandemic-related protections to avoid eviction from a $5 million Hamptons mansion claims he and his wife have been harassed and humiliated in a bid to force them out — including through the use of “defamatory memes” sent to his bosses.
In court papers filed Wednesday, Paul Pion alleged that property owner Damian Krause and prospective purchaser Aaron Appel schemed to portray his family as “squatters” and “hoarders” in a suit filed last month in Suffolk County Supreme Court that seeks their “immediate removal” from the four-bedroom house in Water Mill.
In an affidavit filed by Pion, the financial services firm’s chief administrative officer and senior managing director also accused Krause and Appel of being “behind a series of defamatory memes that were sent to media outlets and the executive management of Cantor Fitzgerald, questioning my ethics, in a blatant effort to cause reputational harm.”
The memes aren’t attached as exhibits or even described in the affidavit.
But an image sent to The Post — following its exclusive report on the suit filed against Pion and his wife, Stephanie, last month — mercilessly mocks him in a takeoff on Dos Equis beer’s “The Most Interesting Man in the World” TV commercial.
The meme features Pion’s face imposed over the commercial’s star, actor Jonathan Goldsmith, and the setup line “HURRICANE PAUL PION SEZ.”
“I DON’T ALWAYS MAKE LANDFALL IN THE HAMPTONS — BUT WHEN I DO, I REMAIN FOR YEARS UNTIL SUFFOLK COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT CHASES ME OUT!” the punchline adds.
Pion also claimed in the affidavit that his family has had its privacy invaded through a harassment campaign allegedly “orchestrated by Appel, possibly through a private investigations firm he owns.”
“In addition to a secret video of the home where my wife and children live being leaked on the internet, within days of this filing, my wife’s personal cell phone number and email address was subscribed to dozens, if not hundreds, of ‘spam’ advertisement lists and newsletters (causing her to receive hundreds of unsolicited texts and emails), and numerous doctor’s appointments were made in her name, forcing us to change her cell phone number,” he stated in the court filing.
“Perhaps most loathsome: my wife’s ex-husband and ex-father-in-law were recently contacted by someone asking for ‘dirt’ on my wife; we believe this was Krause, Appel, or one of their agents, ostensibly so they could try to cause us more embarrassment.”
Pion added: “This is not idle harassment, and we fully intend to seek legal redress of these and other issues in due time.”
The suit filed against the Pions by Krause Estates LLC accuses them of exploiting anti-eviction measures tied to the COVID-19 pandemic to remain in the gated, “Bauhaus-inspired” mansion after their $10,000-a-month lease expired on May 31, even though they allegedly have an apartment in Manhattan.
A source familiar with the matter has told The Post that the home resembled “an episode of ‘Hoarders’” — the reality TV show about people who obsessively fill their homes with possessions — and a video showed its interior cluttered with mounds of clothing and a hallway partially blocked by a rolling clothes rack.
In his affidavit, Paul Pion said the video “was taken when my wife was literally in the middle of packing bags for herself, and our two young children, for a trip to visit me when I was working abroad during the holidays; indeed, our luggage can be seen in the video.”
He also said his family doesn’t “maintain a residence in Manhattan or anywhere else,” and that they’d been planning to buy the house from Krause before negotiations broke down.
In separate court papers, Pion and his wife are seeking to have the suit dismissed on grounds that they were never formally served with notice that their lease wasn’t being renewed.
Following the suit’s filing, Stephanie Pion broke down in tears when approached by a reporter, saying, “I’m not squatting, I’m just trying to keep my kids with a roof over their heads.”
Neither Krause nor his lawyers immediately returned requests for comment Friday.
Appel, a commercial real estate banker, said only, “I have no comment. I have nothing to do with this other than I am closing on a house.”
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