Ben Tzion Suky, the former pornographer who is Sefardi haredi 'kabbalist' Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto's top aide (and cousin), is running an illegal New York City hotel, the city says in a new lawsuit. In a separate lawsuit filed last year, an Israeli investment fund manager, Tomer Shohat, alleges Suky was misusing the property's income – with the help of Pinto, who allegedly had a NYPD detective close to him arrest Shohat and threaten Shohat in a bid to get the documents proving Suky's guilt so Shohat could not use them against Suky and Pinto.
Above: Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto
Pinto is involved in a police bribery scandal in Israel that started with the looting by top Pinto associates of a charity Pinto controlled. Tens of millions of dollars were stolen from elderly Holocaust survivors. A lot of it allegedly went directly into Pinto's pockets.
And now this. The AP reports:
The online listing boasted apartments with the amenities of a midtown Manhattan hotel: coffee in the lobby, luggage storage, a 15-minute walk to Times Square.
But the arrangement was illegal, the city said in a lawsuit this week accusing the building's owners and operators of turning an apartment house into a hotel. The suit — one of three the city has filed amid a short-term rental boom in recent years — was filed Wednesday, a day after a City Council hearing spotlighted concerns about homes being rented out like hotel rooms.
"Where the health and safety of New Yorkers and people visiting our city are put in jeopardy, we vigorously pursue enforcement," Elan Parra, the acting director of the Mayor's Office of Special Enforcement, said in a statement Thursday. The office fields illegal-hotel complaints, which rose 62 percent last year to 1,150.
The building's management company, identified in the suit as U.S. Suite Management LLC and also known as Metro Apartments, said no one was immediately available Thursday to comment. A call to a man identified in court papers as a principal in the company wasn't immediately returned.
On Metro Apartments' website, units in the West 41st Street building were listed Thursday for about $130 a night for a studio or $220 for a one bedroom, with "hotel services and facilities" including a concierge and an airport shuttle. Inspectors say at least half and perhaps 80 percent of the 96 apartments are being rented as hotel rooms through Metro Apartments and various travel booking sites, according to the special enforcement office.
The suit said the building lacks a sprinkler system and other fire safety features required of hotels and that the flow of guests has posed a security risk and nuisance for permanent residents.…
Read it all here.