Obama pardons WeHo Edition hotelier Ian Schrager

Barack Obama and Ian Schrager
Barack Obama and Ian Schrager

It’s the end of an era in more ways than one. The outgoing president this week pardoned developer Ian Schrager over a 1980s tax evasion conviction.

In 1980, Schrager was sentenced for tax fraud over Studio 54, the famous nightclub he co-founded with partner Steve Rubell. He served 20 months in prison, another five years on probation and had to cough up $20,000 in fines.

“Your crime is one of tremendous arrogance,” the judge told Schrager and Rubell at the time. “You fail to appreciate the true nature of the seriousness of a tax charge.”

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Schrager is one of 273 people pardoned by President Barack Obama this week — a list that also includes whistleblower Chelsea Manning. He heads the Ian Schrager Company, which has developed a number of hotels since 2005 and partnered with Mariott on a boutique hotel line. The firm is opening an Edition Hotel in West Hollywood in partnership with Marriott. Steve Witkoff and Howard Lorber are developing the project.

Schrager isn’t the only developer who ran into trouble over his taxes. Last year, Aby Rosen paid $7 million to settle tax evasion charges.  And in September, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. indicted Michael Shvo on charges of evading $1.4 million in tax charges. [NYP]Konrad Putzier