An Upper West Side hotelier is planning a $10.3 million lawsuit against the city, claiming he’s been unfairly harassed and the government is trying to drive him out of business.
Hank Freid of Helms Realty Corp, which owns the Broadway Hotel & Hostel among others, filed a notice of claim in an advance of a lawsuit, DNAinfo reported. The hotel at 230 West 101st Street has been issued with 27 summonses, according to the website, racking up $67,000 in fines under the new state Airbnb law. However, Freid is arguing that his operation is legal, and the city is trying to ruin his business.
“The city’s actions were motivated by its intent to harass and inflict economic injury on [Helms Realty], for the collateral purposes of forcing claimant to cease its lawful operations… and by forcing [Helms Realty] to rent the building to only permanent occupants in order to help the city achieve its goal of creating affordable housing,” the notice of claim states, according to the publication.
The claim notes that in February, an administrative law judge dismissed Department of Buildings violations against the hotel for transient use. The judge ruled the owners had sufficiently proved the SRO building had been a hotel for at least 70 years, and therefore short-term rentals were permissible.
Freid also owns the Royal Park Hotel & Hostel on West 97th Street and Marrakech Hotel at Broadway and West 103rd Street. In total, his three hotels are facing $234,000 in fines for illegal short-term rentals. He was one of the first people charged under the new laws.