The Real Deal New York

City Council members urge Clintons to drop Airbnb partnership

Family's foundation to team with startup to provide accommodation for AmeriCorps volunteers

September 25, 2014 03:50PM

From left: Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and a map of Airbnb's New York City listings

From left: Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and a map of Airbnb’s New York City listings

City Council is calling on the Clinton Global Initiative to cut ties with the controversial short-term rental startup Airbnb.

The Clinton Foundation had announced a partnership with Airbnb in which the startup would provide accommodations to AmeriCorps volunteers during the nonprofit’s annual global meeting in Midtown.

But in a letter to the foundation’s CEO Eric Braverman, the Council members argued that Airbnb is “the leading operator in the illegal hotel industry that is exacerbating the affordable-housing crisis in New York City.”

“We believe in the Clinton Foundation’s guiding principle that ‘we’re all in this together,’ ” they wrote. “But it appears Airbnb does not subscribe to this principle, as it is content to flout our laws, put tenants at significant risk, and deal a serious blow to our efforts to make this city more affordable for working New Yorkers.”

The letter was signed by Council members Helen Rosenthal, Daniel Garodnick, Corey Johnson, Ben Kallos, Rosie Mendez, Brad Lander, Mark Levine, Antonio Reynoso and Ritchie Torres. [Crain’s]Christopher Cameron

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    From the owner side, I have to thank the politicians who object to airbnb indicating that maybe they haven’t been corrupted. Airbnb is no good for hotel unions which gives iron ricebowl jobs to a few lucky minorities and just being able to be part of the city and industry in a non-insular minority way has really brightened their lives. So the more legal hotels with jobs for working class NYers, the better.

    It’s just like the Stella D’Oro workers in the Bronx – they got a huge heave-ho for their first generation families because unlike most people, they were safe for a few decades.

    If I had a three bedroom rent controlled apartment in my own building, I would be tempted too – that’s a LOT of money but how many episodes of 24 do you really need to watch to know that you want every visitor accounted for when visiting the city.

    Plus I dread the day my mother has to clean up after an airbnb guest of a rent controlled apartment and neither my brother nor myself can enter the building to help her with it.

    PLEASE DO NOT MAKE US COMPOST AFTER OUR RENT CONTROLLED TENANTS.

    • strawtomatocandy

      Short term rentals are illegal in NYC. What doesn’t the Clinton Global Initiative understand. Oh I forgot. They’re above the law.

  • We agree with City Council on this one. Good call.

  • StraightDownTheMiddle

    Every time I read something wherein members of City Council claim they are trying to make the City more affordable to working New Yorkers, I just have to laugh. They are tied for first place with the NY State legislature for being the very reason living in NYC is so expensive for most of us. It is their policies that have destroyed the housing market in NY, and every “fix” they offer only makes matters worse. How does anyone take them seriously. I hope the Clintons don’t. AirBnB’s affect on the availability and cost of rental housing in NYC is miniscule to zero, though it provide a means of relief to many who pay the dear price of living in a housing market so messed up by those idiots in City Hall and Albany. Amricorp volunteers need reasonably priced places to stay (remember, they are unpaid). They cannot afford the prices that hotels have to charge so that the owners of those hotels have enough money to pay-off council members AND then also pay union wages – part of which also goes to pay-off council members.

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