The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
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A man lived for free in a New York hotel for 5 years, taking advantage of a loophole in the law.


Alina Prikhodko

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For five years, the New Yorker was able to live for free at the New Yorker Hotel, an iconic building in Manhattan. Taking advantage of a little-known local housing law, he obtained this right through the courts. According to Nzherald, the man even filed ownership documents for the entire hotel building.

But this week it all ended. Mickey Barreto was arrested and charged with filing false property records. But Barreto, 48, says he was surprised when police showed up at his boyfriend's apartment with guns and bulletproof shields. In his opinion, this should be a civil matter, not a criminal one.

The charges are just the latest chapter in a decades-long legal saga that began in 2019 when he and his boyfriend paid about $200 to rent one of more than 1000 rooms at the New Yorker Hotel, an Art Deco high-rise built in 1930. .

Barreto said his boyfriend then told him about a loophole that allowed tenants of single rooms in buildings built before 1969 to claim a six-month lease.

According to him, since he paid for the night at the hotel, he is considered a renter. So he demanded that the hotel put him in a room for six months, but they immediately kicked him out.

“The next day I went to court. The court of first instance rejected my claim. I appealed to the state Supreme Court and won,” Barreto said, explaining that the building owners’ attorneys failed to show up at the critical moment, allowing him to win the case by default.

A judge ordered the New Yorker Hotel to give Barreto a room key. The man lived there until July 2023, and did not pay rent because the owners of the building did not want to negotiate a lease with him, but they could not kick him out.


Audacity second happiness

So, the housing court gave Barreto “possession” of his room. But he didn't stop there. In 2019, a man uploaded a false document to the city website purporting to transfer ownership of the entire building to him from the Holy Spirit Association church, which bought the hotel in 1976.

On the subject: Free housing in New York: how immigrants can settle in a hotel and not pay anything for it

Then Barreto, posing as the owner of the building, tried to take money to rent rooms in the hotel

“This included demanding rent from one of the hotel's tenants, registering the hotel in his name with the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation to pay for water and sewer, and demanding that the hotel's bank transfer money from its accounts to him,” it says. in a statement from the prosecutor's office.

The New Yorker has never been one of the city's glamorous hotels, but it has long been one of the largest and most iconic. Inventor Nikola Tesla lived in this hotel for ten years. NBC broadcast its broadcasts from the Terrace Room. Boxers, including Muhammad Ali, stayed here when they fought at Madison Square Garden. The hotel closed in 1972 and was used for several years by the Holy Spirit Association, and in 1994 part of the building reopened as a hotel.

The church sued Barreto in 2019. She disputed false documents and statements, including his LinkedIn listing as the owner of the building. The case continues. Barreto argues that the judge who gave him “possession” of his room indirectly gave him the entire building because it was never subdivided.

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