Brooklyn landlords sued by city for “illegal” Airbnbs

Pair netted $1.4M in profits since 2016: lawsuit

New York /
Dec.December 17, 2020 08:53 AM
1214 Dean Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

1214 Dean Street in Brooklyn (Google Maps)

A Brooklyn couple who made headlines this summer for trying to evict tenants despite the pandemic also ran illegal Airbnb rentals, according to a new lawsuit.

The city slapped Loretta Gendville and Gennaro Brooks-Church — the so-called “eco-yogi slumlords of Brooklyn” — with a suit accusing them of operating “an illegal and hazardous” short-term rental operation at nine buildings. The pair allegedly own five of the properties and illegally converted 14 of 22 units into short-term rentals.

Court documents allege they hosted 5,600 visitors over several years, pocketing $1.4 million in profits. They used multiple Airbnb accounts, including one in their daughter’s name. But in reviews, guests described deceptive ads, unclean buildings and unresponsive hosts.

According to the suit, Gendville and Brooks-Church had been operating the illegal units since 2016. The city issued 19 separate violations and imposed $50,000 in fines, only $5,000 of which were paid. The de Blasio administration is seeking $1 million in punitive damages, plus fines between $350 and $500 for each fake listing to come from a restitution fund to pay duped guests.

Gendville, who owned a chain of yoga studios, and Brooks-Church, who runs a “green” construction company, were at the center of an eviction scandal this summer. After they tried to kick out tenants at 1214 Dean Street in Brooklyn, protesters formed a human chain in front of the building. Last month, the city sued the pair for allegedly trying to force out tenants despite the moratorium on evictions.

[NYP] — E.B. Solomont





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, 54 West 39th Street, 62 Grand Street, and 208 West 30th Street (Credit: Google Maps)
    The Airbnb crackdown continues: City targets three more buildings
    The Airbnb crackdown continues: City targets three more buildings
    Mayor Bill de Blasio and Stanley “Skip” Karol, an Airbnb host (Credit: Getty Images and Youtube)
    Airbnb host narrowly clears hurdle in First Amendment claim against city
    Airbnb host narrowly clears hurdle in First Amendment claim against city
    A West Village Airbnb listing (Credit: Airbnb)
    Airbnb Luxe launched without listings in one of their biggest potential markets — why?
    Airbnb Luxe launched without listings in one of their biggest potential markets — why?
    Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (Getty, iStock)
    Miami-Dade resumes pre-pandemic evictions after unannounced February break
    Miami-Dade resumes pre-pandemic evictions after unannounced February break
    Five small landlords, represented by Randy Mastro, have sued New York attorney general Letitia James (Getty)
    Lawsuit challenges New York eviction ban’s constitutionality
    Lawsuit challenges New York eviction ban’s constitutionality
    U.S. District Judge John Campbell Barker, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, ruled the eviction moratorium to be unconstitutional. (Getty, Texas Attorney General)
    National eviction moratorium ruled unconstitutional, but remains in place
    National eviction moratorium ruled unconstitutional, but remains in place
    Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky (Getty)
    Airbnb’s losses balloon to $4.6B in 2020
    Airbnb’s losses balloon to $4.6B in 2020
    Photo illustration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    Status of NY’s commercial eviction ban is unknown
    Status of NY’s commercial eviction ban is unknown
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...