UPDATED, Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 11:16 p.m.: One Ditmas Park resident thought he had it bad enough after enduring bed bugs, bulging walls and a hole in the ceiling. But then he learned his building was being used to service an illegal brothel.
Another Park Slope resident also learned there were apartments being used for prostitution in her building.
Both residents had the same landlord, Isaac Schwartz, a regular on the New York City public advocate’s “worst landlord” list who was arrested last month after police discovered a prostitution ring operating in his buildings, according to The New York Times.
Schwartz’s arrest highlighted the role complicit landlords play in enabling illegal prostitution rings to operate in residential buildings. Police alleged that four of Schwartz’s Brooklyn properties, 2007 Foster Avenue, 483 4th Avenue, 880 Gates Avenue and 203 Onderdonk Avenue, had housed brothels, as part of a prostitution ring run by a former police detective. The landlord pleaded not guilty and was released without bail on his own recognizance. According to the Times, Schwartz’s portfolio numbers 48 buildings valued at about $87 million.
Citing housing court documents, The Times reported that Schwartz, who works as an EMT in Borough Park, runs his rental company with Mendy Lowy and a contracting firm, Powerful Electric, with his brother-in-law Shalon Seelfreund. Schwartz and Lowy were also connected to a strange kidnapping ring in Lakewood, New Jersey. Schwartz and Lowy paid $2 million in bond to secure the release of a rabbi and another man charged with abduction and assault related to divorces in the Orthodox community, the Times reported. [NYT] — David Jeans
Correction: An earlier version noted Schwartz was the developer behind a project in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; it’s a different developer with the same name.