The Real Deal New York

Ex-Citi Habitats agent allegedly set fire to NYU student — and then Snapchatted it

Suspect was singing as he recorded the grisly video, authorities say
By Tess Hofmann | January 21, 2015 02:23PM

Talk about burning bridges. A former Citi Habitats agent, 20-year-old Jaime Castano, was arrested Monday for allegedly setting fire to a classmate in his dorm room and then posting the grisly video on Snapchat. All while singing.

Castano, who was a New York University student at the time but was expelled in September after the Aug. 23 attack, admitted to police that he used his cell phone to record a video of the sleeping female student engulfed in flames and her subsequent panicked attempts to put them out.

The victim, who suffered painful burns and scarring on her torso, was intoxicated on the night of the attack, according to police sources cited by the New York Daily News. She wasn’t aware of what happened to her until the next day, when she saw the video posted on Snapchat, a short-term social video platform favored by millennials.

To comply with the victim’s wishes, NYU delayed telling the police about the crime until late October, a spokesperson for the university said in a statement to the Daily Intelligencer.

Castano’s agent profile has been deleted from the Citi Habitats website. But an archived page of his agent bio seen by The Real Deal shows that Castano was representing rental properties in Greenwich Village and Chelsea. His biography said he was born in Colombia, raised in Miami, and is a quadruplet.

“I offer clients an unparalleled work ethic, and experience in assisting with the long process of finding the right space and closing a transaction,” Castano said on his bio page. “Everyone deserves that kind of commitment.”

Representatives from Citi Habitats did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is unclear whether Castano was terminated or whether he left of his own accord.

Castano was arraigned Tuesday on first-degree charges of assault and reckless endangerment, and is set to appear in court on Friday to learn if he has been indicted.

  • George

    Citi has been lighting itself on fire the past few years. If NRT execs knew how the company has been operating all of the execs would be terminated immediately. churnin and burnin those new agents at 35% splits.

    • John

      Does Gary Malin still take referral fees from his agents? I know at one point he use to advertise then give out the leads to his agent and take a 25% referral fee saying it was his corporate account.

      • Nick

        Yes, they take more money from the agents when corporate relo leads are dispersed. Sad.

      • no-permits

        gary malin is a crook

    • Zach

      Couldn’t have been put any better.

  • WannaBeLandlord

    Better have got citizenship in Miami or he is going to be selling flats in Bogota after his case winds down.

  • OnTheReal

    His Linkedin page states he more recently works at
    Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, Inc.

  • Frank Furter

    Sleazy act…he should be shoveling snow of shi_ in hell for this….

  • no-permits

    sounds like a town broker

  • Kenya

    When you hire a 20 year old student to represent your company motto of ” Sales & Rentals, Knowledge & Guidance”, this is what you are asking for.

  • Arik Katzenberg

    This is NYU under John Sexton – a self contained fiefdom, above the law and not answerable to anyone, least of all the victimized students who are paying $60,000 year to be there.

  • my opinion

    what does Citi Habitats have to do with this? Seems like TRD picks on Citi Habitats any chance they can. It seems as though this agent worked at Citi Habitats a long time ago and has since then worked at another firm. Why didn’t TRD put the other firm’s name in their headline. Such trash.

  • jpmonte

    Yank his RE License!

    • Ellen

      He is too young to have a license in the first place. I would not allow a child to handle a financial transaction for me. Note to New York State: The licensing exam is so easy that indeed a child could easily pass it!