Activists targeted hotelier Hank Freid last week as the focal point for their campaign against illegal hotel conversions citywide, calling the much-maligned developer a “scamlord” and picketing his Broadway Hotel this past Saturday.
Mr. Freid’s lawyer chimed in this week to make a point — those hotels aren’t actually illegal:
The accusations against the owner of 230 W 101 Street are false. The building has been lawfully operated in the same manner as it currently has for decades. Furthermore, there was never any contract with HUD nor was any money ever received from HUD. Not one penny of government money was ever used to build or make any improvements to the building. What is true is that the owner had an agreement (“Agreement”) with the Human Resources Administration of the City of New York (“HRA”) in which the owner agreed to make certain rooms available for HRA’s use in placing people selected by HRA in those rooms for temporary emergency housing.
In April 2007, HRA notified the owner and the occupants that HRA had cancelled the Agreement in order to put them into more permanent housing. HRA also gave the occupants written notification that their rights to remain in their rooms was terminated and that they should contact their HRA caseworker for relocation. With one exception, all of the occupants relocated. The person who has wrongfully remained has since been on a malicious campaign to defame and injure the building and its owner, has been trespassing on ownership’s other properties and continues to provide false and defamatory information to press and tenant activists.
Ronald J. Rosenberg, Esq.
Rosenberg Calica & Birney LLP