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NYC man falsely claims hotel ownership after 5 years free stay

The man was arrested after he filed fake property records claiming he owned the hotel and then demanded rent from tenants.
NYC man falsely claims hotel ownership after 5 years free stay
Posted at 9:00 PM, Feb 15, 2024

A New York City man was arrested for falsely claiming ownership of a famous Manhattan hotel after living in the hotel rent-free for five years by exploiting a local housing law.

It all started in 2018, when Mickey Barreto, 48, stayed at the New Yorker Hotel for one night and attempted to exploit a loophole in New York's rent stabilization law, which allows occupants of single rooms in pre-1969 buildings to demand a six-month lease

When the hotel refused to lease the room, he left his stuff behind, but the hotel staff removed it. So he sued, saying he was unfairly kicked out, and won the room back thanks to that loophole, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. 

However, Barreto crossed a line when he filed fake property records in 2019 claiming he owned the hotel. He then demanded rent from tenants, registered the hotel in his name for utility payments, and even tried to take control of the hotel's bank accounts. He also contacted the hotel's franchise owner to transfer ownership to himself.

The DA’s office says that the actual owner of the hotel sued him, and a court ordered Barreto to stop claiming ownership of the hotel, but in 2023 he did it again and filed more fake documents in April and September.

Barreto was arrested on Wednesday and now faces charges in the New York State Supreme Court for 14 counts of filing false documents and 10 counts of criminal contempt, the DA's office states. 

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