NYC sues Garment District landlord over tenant’s alleged prostitution activity

Lawsuit claims Solil Management entity was obliged to know what was happening

New York /
Feb.February 05, 2021 07:00 AM
The building is near Herald Square and Penn Station. (Google Maps)

The building is near Herald Square and Penn Station. (Google Maps)

 

This was not the happy ending a Garment District landlord expected when it leased space to a spa.

City officials allege the New Lavender Mini Spa at 45 West 34th Street was used to facilitate prostitution. The city is now suing the property owner, an entity tied to Solil Management, in Civil Court in New York.

The city claims that the Solil entity permitted the use of the ground-floor space for prostitution.

On three seperate occcasions last summer an undercover police officer was allegedly offered sexual acts in exchange for a fee by a female employee of the spa, according to the complaint.

In the most recent incident in September, the female employee allegedly agreed to perform 30 minutes of massage therapy on an undercover officer in exchange for $60 and “manual stimulation of his penis” in exchange for a “tip” of $80, the suit alleges.

The employee was then arrested for prostitution. An attorney prosecuting the case further discovered that she did not have the required massage therapy license at the time of the offense.

The suit also names unknown parties as defendants that could be the owner, lessor, lessee, operator, employee, agent or occupant of the space. The city could also pursue any other person or entity claiming any right, title or interest in the property.

According to the city, the operator of the space has a duty to be aware of any prostitution activity there.

The city is seeking a judgment for each defendant to pay a $1,000 fine for each day the illegal activity occurred. It is also seeking to shut down the business and prevent it from reopening.

Solil manages the portfolio built by Sol Goldman, who died in 1987 at age 70 after amassing about 600 buildings. The company’s Manhattan holdings were estimated to be worth some $6 billion in 2013.

Solil has been famously quiet about its real estate holdings. It generally signs tenants to long-term ground leases.

In the case of the 45 West 34th Street, Solil leased the second through 12 floors to 34th Street Commercial Properties, which is tied to HSP Real Estate Group and its partner Ira Fishman.

Dana Moskowitz​, partner at HSP Real Estate Group and daugher of Ira Fishman, said via email that “34th Street Commercial Properties does not own, manage or lease the ground floor.”

Built in 1907 and designed by architects Howells & Stokes, the building is near Herald Square and Penn Station. Levi’s is also a ground-floor tenant.

Solil did not return requests for comment.





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