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NYU president turned faculty apartments into a duplex for his son

Published time: April 17, 2014 15:24
Flags fly from a New York University building in New York (AFP Photo)

Flags fly from a New York University building in New York (AFP Photo)

“Searching for an apartment in New York City can be challenging,” the prestigious New York University acknowledges on its website’s “Off Campus Living” page. On the contrary, the son of the school’s president apparently didn't have any problem.

According to the New York Post, that cautionary understatement on the official NYU site hardly applied to Jed Sexton — a Harvard-educated aspiring actor who in 2002 miraculously happened upon a newly renovated duplex embedded right between NYU’s facilities in the heart of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

Sexton had no affiliation with the school, however, sans the sole fact that his father happened to be NYU’s incoming president.

James Covert for the Post reported on Wednesday this week that property records seen by the newspaper and corroborated by statements from people briefed on the matter made it clear that Jed Sexton “for years enjoyed a spacious faculty apartment” at 240 Mercer St in the Village.

The actor and his wife moved into a newly created duplex at the NYU-owned building, Covert reported, soon after the school offered them the residence in the spring of 2002.

Only weeks earlier, however, a transition team working under incoming NYU President John Sexton told the school that there was a “severe housing shortage” on campus.

“The housing system,” the March 8, 2002 report read, “is also deficient because it has adverse effects on both the pace of retirements and, because of inadequate budget and planning integration, the hiring of new faculty.”

Nevertheless, for five years his son and daughter-in-law rented a completely renovated, two-story duplex in building that is normally reserved for law school faculty.

President of New York University John Sexton (Reuters / Bryan Bedder)

According to the Post, NYU spokesman John Beckman declined to comment on whether either resident paid market price for the apartment during the half-a-decade they lived there.

“We don’t discuss the specifics of residents’ rent, though I can absolutely say [Jed Sexton] was charged rent,” Beckman told the Post.

Currently, one-bedroom apartments at the Mercer Street Residence run roughly $3,000, with two-story spaces undoubtedly costing much more.

Jed Sexton and his wife, Danielle Decrette, left in 2007, according to the Post, to move into a $1 million house in Connecticut. NYU’s Beckman told the paper that the school no role in the financing of that home.

John Sexton is expected to retire from his role as president of NYU in 2016, but may indeed close the chapter on that part of his life only after adding a new page or two courtesy of the latest scandal to surface. Previously, Sexton has come under fire for allowing tuition to increase by 68 percent in the decade after he first took helm of the school, and last year it was revealed that NYU students have more debt that those who attended any other university in the country.

Meanwhile, Sexton’s annual salary last year was $1.5 million, according to the New York Times, and he’s been guaranteed retirement benefits of $800,000 a year once he officially retires.