A LOT of people felt sorry for Ann Curry after she was coldly booted from her job as co-host of the “Today” show – but not her New York neighbor John Lee!
Lee and his wife live next door to an uninhabited townhome the newscaster purchased with her husband a decade ago – and he says the empty building has not only caused him a tremendous amount of grief but almost cost him his life!
“She’s made my life a living hell for 10 long years – and she and her family haven’t even moved in,” Lee told The ENQUIRER. “On air, Ann comes across as caring and empathetic, a touchy-feely sort of person who wears her emotions on her sleeve.
“But when the cameras aren’t rolling, she’s far different from her public persona – and not in a good way.”
Ann, 56, and her software executive husband, Brian Ross, bought the stunning brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for $2.9 million in 2003. They had planned to renovate the building, but ongoing construction and multiple code violations along the way have triggered a bitter neighborhood feud – and several lawsuits.
“She hasn’t shown my wife and me a shred of compassion or understanding for the disruption their decade-long home renovation caused our neighbors and us,” Lee explained. “Our quality of life was destroyed. She’s an uncaring, mean-spirited person who cannot bring herself to apologize for her mistakes.”
In addition to disrupting lives, Lee says the final straw came in December 2010 when a water pipe in Ann’s building burst because it was vacant and the heat wasn’t turned on. The water flooded the basement of the home Lee shares with wife Lynne Lummel.
“Water surged in knee-deep and wiped out everything that was down there – important papers, computers, books, family photo albums, appliances – all were gone in a flash,” said Lee. “And some things were irreplaceable.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, the 71-year-old retired college professor was nearly electrocuted when he instinctively tried to unplug a space heater that was underwater.
“I got such a jolt that I flew back across the floor,” he told The ENQUIRER. “I was dazed and shaken. I think for a few seconds there my wife thought I was a goner. It was an extremely dangerous environment, and I could have been killed.”
Damages were in the “tens of thousands of dollars,” added Lummel. “We finally reached a settlement with Ann and her husband six months later. I get very emotional when I think of her and what she put us through. As far as she was concerned, we were inconsequential and she treated us very poorly.”
Lee says the biggest slap in the face is the fact that Ann has never even apologized. But he finds some satisfaction that Ann got her just rewards when sources say her “Today” co-host Matt Lauer orchestrated her exit from the popular NBC morning show. “I’m a believer in karma and what goes around comes around,” Lee said. “Maybe if she’d approached this renovation project in a different way and taken into consideration her neighbors, her career fortunes might not have taken the turn they did.”