A Flushing, Queens family was arrested and charged with second-degree reckless endangerment after a yearlong investigation revealed they’d allegedly illegally converted their duplex into a 15-room hotel, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.
The “high-traffic” hotel, which catered to Asian tourists, was uncovered by detectives investigating reports of illegal cigarettes sold out of a house at 42-05 Saull Street, during which they noticed lots of people carrying luggage in and out of 42-03 Saull, next door.
A look at Chinese-language websites such as Chinatowninus.com revealed advertisements for the house as a hotel with double, triple and quadruple occupancy options.
Doubles ran for $60 per night, triples for $70 and quads for $90, with a premium charged for private bathrooms.
Inspectors from the Department of buildings tried unsuccessfully to enter the home several times over the past year, but were repeatedly denied access. Once they finally got inside, they uncovered a lack of exists and no sprinklers, fire alarms or exit signs.
In the process, Xioshan He, the 34-year-old son of property owners Quimin He and his wife Chun Y Tu, was charged with second-degree obstruction of government for interfering with his parents’ arrest.
“Illegal conversions can kill — and any property owner who puts lives in danger in order to line their own pockets must be held accountable,” Department of Buildings Comissioner Robert LiMandri said in a statement.
The family may face a year in jail if convicted. [Village Voice] — Julie Strickland