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Valentino says a new $207 million lawsuit accusing the fashion brand of illegally breaking its Manhattan lease and trashing the building on its way out is “baseless.”

Last week, its landlord, 693 Fifth Owner LLC, claimed that the design house used the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to break its lease nearly a decade early because of financial problems that Valentino was already having before the health crisis started.

The building owner also claimed that Valentino — which was renting four floors — left extensive damage when it moved out in December, including allegedly sloppily painting over Venetian terrazzo marble panels with Carrera chippings that were throughout the space.

But the Italian luxury retailer has fired back, calling 693 Fifth’s treatment of it “commercial harassment,” according to a new statement Valentino released late Thursday.

The empty building space where Valentino used to house their store.
The empty building space where Valentino used to house their store.
Courtesy of the building owner

Valentino said 693 Fifth was “extremely unsympathetic” to the challenges it faced during the pandemic, failing to enter into good-faith negotiations as so many other landlords have been doing.

“In fact, when Valentino attempted to coordinate its surrender to ensure a smooth transition, the landlord rebuffed its efforts to do so,” Valentino said in a statement. “Such acts constitute nothing less than commercial harassment in their purest form.”

The Valentino store before the company allegedly broke its building lease.
The Valentino store before the company allegedly broke its building lease.
Courtesy of the building owner

Valentino added that the damages that 693 Fifth is seeking are “far in excess of any amounts due and owing under the lease, and its allegations concerning property damage and the purported ‘millions’ in unpaid rent are all without merit,” according to the statement.

The fashion house said it will “defend itself against the landlord’s apparent attempts to harm Valentino’s reputation and brand with these inflated and baseless claims.”

An empty stairwell is sen inside the former space for Valentino on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan.
An empty stairwell is sen inside the former space for Valentino on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Courtesy of the building owner

A rep for 693 Fifth did not immediately return a request for comment.

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