And finally… late checkout

And finally... late checkout

The New Yorker Hotel

A man who had been living rent-free in the New Yorker Hotel is facing charges of filing false property records after attempting to claim ownership of the building.

Mickey Barreto, a 48-year-old man from New York City, was living in the property for free by exploiting a local housing law that allows occupants of single rooms in pre-1969 buildings to demand a six-month lease.

The legal saga began when Barreto and his boyfriend paid $200 (around £159) to rent a room in the Manhattan hotel built in 1930. Claiming he counted as a tenant due to paying for a night in the hotel, Barreto requested a lease, leading to his eviction. However, he successfully appealed to the Supreme Court, obtaining possession of his room without negotiating a lease.

Living in the hotel until July 2023 without paying rent, Barreto took it a step further in 2019. He uploaded a fake deed to a city website, falsely transferring ownership of the entire building from the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity to himself. The Unification Church, which bought the property in 1976, sued Barreto in 2019 over the deed claim, leading to an ongoing civil case, reports.

Prosecutors allege that Barreto went on to make various fraudulent claims, including demanding rent from a hotel tenant, registering the hotel under his name with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and attempting to transfer the hotel’s bank accounts to himself.

Barreto, representing himself in civil cases, argues that the judge who granted him possession of his room indirectly gave him the entire building, as it had never been subdivided.

Barreto has now secured a criminal defence attorney to navigate the criminal charges brought against him.

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