The partner of former Yankees and Mets pitcher David Cone has been accused in a lawsuit of starting a fire at the couple’s Manhattan apartment in a bid to land a role on “The Real Housewives of New York City.”
The blaze broke out inside Cone and partner Taja Abitbol’s 14th-floor pad at a luxury high-rise in Lincoln Square on Nov. 6, 2019 — the day before Abitbol was slated to appear on Tamron Hall’s ABC talk show.
The flames triggered sprinklers which significantly damaged the apartment of downstairs neighbor Daniel Rice, an Army vet and Purple Heart recipient, he claims in his suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday.
Rice claims that Abitbol, a real estate broker, used the fire to promote her upcoming TV appearance and “advance” her candidacy for the Bravo reality show.
“Abitbol’s desire for fame and notoriety is well-known,” the suit alleges.
The “Tamron Hall Show” Twitter account had posted on the day of the blaze that, “We’re talking to Taja Abitbol. She’s obsessed with astrology and recently didn’t think what her astrologists said would come true but it did.”
In her appearance on the show, Abitbol then explained how her astrologers told her she would move out of the apartment she has just moved into — a prediction that came true when she was forced to relocate to a hotel in the aftermath of the blaze, the suit states.
“Yesterday morning, I basically set the house on fire during Mercury retrograde and I had to move. I came here from my hotel room,” the filing says Abitbol told Hall.
She also explained on the show that she had her “candles burning during Mercury retrograde.”
Abitbol posted a photo of herself at the studio on Instagram with the caption, “What sign are you? I’m a double Aries with Leo Rising all fire … Tune in to @Tamronhallshow on ABC.”
The suit claims her post, which included ten fire emojis, “was an explicit reference to the fire in Unit 14B that damaged Unit 12G.”
Rice accused Abitbol and Cone of “deliberately, knowingly, intentionally and/or recklessly,” having “caused the fire … in order for Abitbol to have a story to discuss on the Tamron Hall Show and/or to advance Abitbol’s candidacy as a castmate for the Real Housewives of New York [City] television show, among other things.”
Abitbol, 50, tried to get onto “RHONY” at least four times, the suit claims, citing Page Six.
Rice — who is suing for at least $320,000 in damages — says he couldn’t move back into the unit at the West End Avenue address until this year.
The damage from the blaze and water sprinklers forced him to carry out a “gut renovation” of the home, the court papers claim. He said during that time he was forced to find “alternative temporary living arrangements.”
Rice claims the couple “negligently and wantonly left candles burning in Unit 14B which started a fire and caused significant damage to Unit 12G,” according to the filing.
The fire was ruled an accident, according to a report by the fire department obtained by The Post.
Rice received a Purple Heart when he was injured by an improvised explosive device in 2005 after serving multiple tours in the Middle East.
He is currently serving as the Special Advisor to Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Valeriy Zaluzhnyy in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the court papers say.
Eric Lerner a lawyer for Cone and Abitbol said, “They have been wrongfully accused of a crime despite the FDNY ruling this an accident after the investigation was done. And likewise, the insurance company also ruled this to be an accident after an investigation was done.”
Todd Shapiro, a rep for Abitbol, said any allegations that she intentionally caused the fire to further her career are “misguided and untrue.”
Shapiro also noted that Abitbol had been paid by an insurance company for flooding caused by sprinklers.
“There was a defective candle that caused smoke and flame,” Abitbol told The Post. “The sprinklers immediately went off and there was no damage from a fire – that was clearly an accident.”
He said the damage was caused by broken sprinklers in the building, which caused a flood.
Abitbol’s other rep Brian Finnegan said she “feels horrible” that others in the building also sustained property damage and “in essence reached out to make sure that others were OK.” He denied that any candles were left unattended.
Cone, 59, retired from the MLB in 2003 and is currently a commentator for the Yankees on the YES Network and WPIX. He and Abitbol have been together for 10 years.
The company that owned the unit Cone and Abitbol were renting did not immediately return a message left with the building.