New York City Man Arrested for Filing False Property Records in Landmark Hotel Case

In a surprising turn of events, Mickey Barreto, a New York City man, has been arrested and charged with filing false property records in a long-standing legal battle involving the iconic New Yorker Hotel. Barreto, who had managed to live rent-free in the hotel for five years by exploiting a local housing law, allegedly took his actions to a new extreme by claiming ownership of the entire building and attempting to charge another tenant rent.

The legal saga began when Barreto and his boyfriend paid a mere $200 to rent a room in the towering Art Deco structure, which was constructed in 1930. Discovering a loophole that allowed occupants of single rooms in pre-1969 buildings to demand a six-month lease, Barreto argued that he qualified as a tenant since he had paid for a night in the hotel. After being evicted, he took the matter to court and eventually won an appeal, securing possession of his room.

However, prosecutors claim that Barreto didn’t stop there. In 2019, he allegedly uploaded a fake deed to a city website, falsely transferring ownership of the entire New Yorker Hotel from the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity to himself. The Unification Church, founded by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, had purchased the property in 1976. Barreto then proceeded to make various demands as the supposed owner, including charging rent to a tenant, registering the hotel under his name for utility payments, and attempting to transfer the hotel’s bank accounts to himself.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg stated, “As alleged, Mickey Barreto repeatedly and fraudulently claimed ownership of one of the City’s most iconic landmarks, the New Yorker Hotel.” The charges against Barreto include fraud and criminal contempt.

The New Yorker Hotel, located near Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, has a rich history and has hosted notable figures such as inventor Nikola Tesla and boxer Muhammad Ali. While it closed as a hotel in 1972, part of the building reopened in 1994. The Unification Church has filed a civil case against Barreto, contesting his claim to ownership and his portrayal of himself as the building’s owner on LinkedIn.

Barreto maintains that his actions were driven by activism aimed at denying profits to the Unification Church, which has faced criticism and lawsuits in the past. He asserts that he never intended to commit fraud and has not profited from the situation. Barreto has represented himself in the civil cases but has now secured a criminal defense attorney.

Author: CrimeDoor

1 Response

  1. If you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy real estate attorney in New York City, I highly recommend the law firm of Smith & Associates. They have a proven track record of handling complex property disputes and can provide expert guidance in navigating legal battles like the one involving the New Yorker Hotel. Their team of experienced attorneys will work diligently to protect your rights and ensure a fair resolution. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Smith & Associates for top-notch legal representation.

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