San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana is suing the Millennium Tower’s developers, saying they gave him a discount on a lease seven years ago in exchange for helping sagging sales without telling him the luxury high-rise was already sinking dramatically.
In a suit filed late last week, Montana and his wife Jennifer accuse Millennium Partners of hiding the building’s growing troubles when they struck two deals with the celebrity couple and then gave them a deal in buying a unit on the 41st floor in 2013.
The building is sinking and leaning to the north and west and continues to sink at a rate of about an inch a year.
“The interior surfaces of the Montanas' unit are off-level and the fit and finish of the unit are in disrepair due to the total and differential settlement of the Tower,” the suit claims, referring to their unit on the 41st floor of the 58-story tower.
“In addition to owning unit 41C at the Tower, the Montanas entered into a promotional agreement with the Tower's developer,” the suit says, but Millennium officials “failed to disclose the settlement issue to the Montanas at the time of contracting.”
Montana’s suit also blames the public agency partnership constructing the transit hub next to the tower, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, for contributing to the sinking problems and for joining Millennium in failing to disclose the problem to owners.
In the suit, the Montana couple is described as “well known in the San Francisco Bay Area.” It goes on to note,
“In addition to Mr. Montana's status as a sports icon, the duo has also gained extensive experience and earned nationwide recognition as developers of both commercial and residential properties.”
According to the suit, Millennium approached the couple “regarding possible promotion of the Tower due to slow initial sales in or around 2009.”
The couple then forged at least two agreements, according to the suit. One in 2010, was to live in 41C while promoting the building. They later bought the unit in 2013 with an agreement that included a “promotional component.”
Millennium knew back in 2009 that the building was settling more than expected but failed to tell anyone who bought units, the suit alleges.
“Between 2010 and 2015, the Montanas engaged in extensive promotional work for the Tower, and other Millennium Parties' projects, on behalf of the Millennium Parties, and pursuant to their contracts.”
As part of the deal, the Montanas gave Millennium permission to use their names to promote the building and make three two hour long promotional appearances over the term of their lease.
They later got a discount on their unit when they bought the condo in 2013. Their unit, the suit claims, is now “unmarketable and valueless.”
The couple has suffered “serious and considerable emotional distress while residing in the Tower, and an absence of assurance regarding safety thereof, have caused them to fear for their safety while living in their home.”
Millennium assured Montana, according to the suit, that the foundation for the tower was “state of the art” and “much deeper than required,” and that the building was “well-built and properly anchored, and in fact, that the design is cutting edge and over-engineered.”
The suit goes on to claim Millennium officials assured the couple that, “If the Montanas were to be safe anywhere in San Francisco, it was in unit 41C of the Tower.”
Millennium has not yet responded to our requests for comments on the lawsuit.