Italian theater director Antonio Calenda, the 73-year-old director of Teatro Stabile in Trieste, Italy, filed suit on Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, alleging that his much-younger former lover Natasha Diamond-Walker, 27, tricked him into buying her a luxury apartment in Manhattan -- only to swiftly dump him after moving in.
Calenda's lawyer, Marc Fitapelli, accused the up-and-coming dancer of manipulating her Italian mentor. “[She] took advantage of him to finance her purchase of a luxury Manhattan apartment,” Fitapelli told the New York Daily News. “She never had any intentions to repay our client and she abruptly severed their relationship as soon as she got what she wanted.”
Now a dancer with the famed Martha Graham Dance Company, she first met Calenda in February of 2011, while performing in “Looking for Picasso,” which Calenda was directing in Italy, ABC News reports.
According to the lawsuit, during the relationship, Diamond-Walker borrowed $775,500 from Calenda to purchase a pre-war, 795-square-foot unit on the Upper West Side. The couple had a written agreement wherein Diamond-Walker promised to repay the money, without interest. She had until Dec. 31, 2018, the New York Post notes.
But several months after the deal closed, Diamond-Walker abruptly severed ties with Calenda, declaring she never planned to repay the loan. In the lawsuit, Calenda alleges fraud and seeks not only the $775,000, with interest, but also an additional $1 million in “fraud and compensatory damages."
When reached by ABC News, Diamond-Walker’s attorney, Eric Cohen, denied the allegations against his client.
“These allegations are a gross mischaracterization of the facts," Cohen said. "This is really a story about an older man in a position of power seeking to control a young woman. Natasha is a talented artist who will defend herself against these allegations.”
While Calenda alleges that Diamond-Walker broke up with him in order to get out of repaying the loan, Cohen said that in fact, the split had nothing to do with money.
“Sometimes, relationships just end,” Cohen said in The New York Post, adding that the suit was merely a way for Calenda to “continue to try and affect this woman’s life.”
In the meantime, Diamond-Walker will continue to dance. “Ms. Diamond-Walker is a very talented artist and a serious performer, and will continue to focus on her work,” Cohen said.