Ex-Bank Exec Runs Tilapia Fish Farm from NYC Apt

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 30, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Christopher Toole is violating his lease, or so says his landlord in a lawsuit filed against the New York City tenant. Not only is Toole running a business out of his apartment, he's stinking up the hallways and the apartment below him.

The catch? He's running an apartment fish farm. He also heads a nonprofit known as the Society of Aquaponic Values and Education, which encourages people to breed tilapia in urban dwellings.

The former bank vice president is known as the "Fisher King," reports the New York Post. But downstairs neighbor Roch McDowell knows him better as the guy who is messing with his sleep. Toole allegedly drags his aquarium and other supplies across the floor in the middle of the night, McDowell told the Post. He's also caused water from his apartment fish farm to leak through the ceiling.

Fed up, the landlord sued to get Toole out of the apartment. Even with a good NYC tenant lawyer, Toole will likely find himself out on the street.

Though some leases allow you to run a home business out of a residential apartment, these clauses are generally limited to office work. Very few leases allow tenants to breed animals or run a retail establishment from a residential building. Toole's lease doesn't allow for either of these, the landlord's lawyer told the Post.

Residential leases also prohibit tenants from disturbing the peace and quiet of the building. And from damaging the property. If Christopher Toole's apartment fish farm is really stinking up the hallways and causing leaks, then he's not respecting the premises. That alone should be enough to get him out of the unit.

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