Siege tactics! City raids Ridge flophouse’s register, garnishes income

Siege tactics! City raids Ridge flophouse’s register, garnishes income
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

They want a prince’s ransom!

Sheriffs raided Bay Ridge’s Prince Hotel and plundered its royal treasury late on Feb. 17, a day after Mayor DeBlasio promised enforcement against the maligned and fine-derelict flophouse at a town hall at Fort Hamilton High School. The reputed drug den’s owner owes the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for illegal construction and unsafe building conditions. The hotel remains open for now, but the city aims to keep a hand in the till until the debt is paid, a local pol said.

“It is officially open, but the sheriffs were sent in to crack down on outstanding violations,” Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) told this paper. “I believe they took all the available revenue from the register and are posting two sheriffs on premises to collect whatever revenue is collected from here on out,” Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) told this paper.

Outstanding fines total around $400,000, he said.

Neighbors say they’ve been complaining for years that the 93rd Street hotel near the corner of Third Avenue was a hotbed of drug use and prostitution, and demands for enforcement grew last year when the city announced a plan to build a pre-kindergarten fewer than 500 feet away.

Some local leaders predicted the hotel’s eventual fall after the pre-K announcement, citing increased attention from DeBlasio’s administration.

Hizzoner opened a special investigation into the hotel in March after push-back against his pre-school proposal, but took little visible action, locals complained during the Feb. 16 town hall, where DeBlasio apologized for not being more aggressive against the alleged den of vice.

“I have to take responsibility for that and apologize to you and the community,” he said. “I guarantee you now — and I’m making a very personal guarantee and all those cameras are running — that there will be enforcement and action on the Prince Hotel.”

Folks living in the hotel-cum-boarding house have claimed that everything there is peachy and said owner Moses Fried is on the up and up, but the city shuttered his hotels in Clinton Hill and Downtown in the aughts for buildings violations and prostitution.

A judge could halt the cash grab, but garnishing the Prince’s income is only a first step to cleaning up the place, Gentile said.

“It’s subject to a court injunction, so I’m not sure how long it will last, but it is the beginning of a process to tell the owners that we’re not joking around,” he said.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
A royal sum: City enforcers emptied the hotel’s register and will garnish its revenue until it pays down nearly $400,000 in buildings department fines, a local pol said.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto