A landlord accused of running an illegal hotel out of his Midtown apartment building agreed to pay $1.2 million, marking the largest settlement of its kind in the city.
Salim “Solly” Assa, who owns four buildings in Manhattan, agreed to settle claims that he was responsible for apartments at his buildings being turned into hotel rooms for tourists, the New York Post reported. According to the mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, this is the highest sum paid for claims related to running illegal hotels to date.
As part of the settlement, Assa’s buildings — 15 and 19 West 55th Street, 334 West 46th Street and 336 West 46th Street — will be overseen by the city and an independent property manager for the next three years.
In August, a Manhattan Supreme Court judge found that Assa had ignored 100 notices of violations at his four buildings, which stemmed from the apartments being listed on Airbnb.
According to the city, brothers Eran Suki and Ben Zion Suky rented out apartments at Assa’s properties and charged tourists for nightly stays. The city said there was a business partnership between Assa and the brothers, which Assa has denied.
In a prepared statement, Assa admitted no wrongdoing, said he had no knowledge of the illegal rentals, and blamed tenants for listing units on Airbnb.
“This has been a regrettable process,” he said. “However, we are pleased that we were ultimately able to work cooperatively with the City to settle this matter and we look forward to focusing all of our efforts on the projects in our pipeline.”
The Office of Special Enforcement started cracking down on apartments listed on Airbnb in February. In November, the city settled with landlords Majid and Hamid Kermanshah for $1 million. The two had listed apartments at 59 Fifth Avenue and 5 West 31st Street on Airbnb. [NYP] — Kathryn Brenzel