Chelsea Hotel Owners Harassed Tenants, NYC Alleges

(THE CITY) , March 10, 2020

Unsafe conditions inside the historic Chelsea Hotel, caused by years of renovations, amounted to tenant harassment, city attorneys argued in a Manhattan courtroom Monday.

During a city administrative hearing in a case against hotel owner Ira Drukier, Department of Housing Preservation and Development lawyers cited evidence of hazards wrought by the effort to turn the grimy landmark to an upscale hotel with a rooftop lounge.

On Friday, city attorneys rattled off a slew of building and health violations — including a leaky ceiling, exposed electrical wires and an analysis of dust revealing high lead levels.

“The list was extensive,” Joseph Ventour, a city Department of Buildings assistant commissioner, testified Friday.

He said he visited the hotel twice in 2019 and identified numerous building code violations.

HPD argued that the hotel’s owners should not be granted a “Certificate of No Harassment” required during conversions of residential hotels into apartments. The owners would need the document to resume work on the building.

Renovations have halted several times due to DOB stop work orders. Public records indicate there’s currently a partial stop work order on the hotel, meaning that only safety improvement efforts could proceed.

One of the owners’ attorneys, Jennifer Recine, said they want the tenants, however unhappy, to stay.

“There was no intent to harass,” she said in her opening remarks on Friday before Judge Noel Garcia.