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The building at 17-12 Menahan St. that was named in a lawsuit filed by the city to crack down on illegal hotel operations.

In a citywide crackdown against illegal hotel operations, the mayor’s office announced on Sept. 12 that it has filed a lawsuit against three defendants with seven buildings in question, one of which is in Ridgewood.

According to a press release from the mayor’s office, 1712 Menahan St. is one of seven buildings used by the defendants to offer “illegal and unsafe short-term rental accommodations” to potential guests.

The defendants listed in the suit — Alexandra Pavlenok, Ekaterina Plotnikova and Stepan Solovyev — allegedly used multiple host accounts with false identities on websites such as Airbnb to illegally advertise at least 15 housing units across three boroughs.

On many occasions, the defendants even misled guests about the legality of the listings by using fake addresses and explanations for guests’ interactions with city inspectors.

“Illegal hotel operators pose a threat to our housing stock and our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We will use any tools necessary to shut them down and keep New Yorkers safe.”

Department of Buildings (DOB) records show that the Menahan Street building was issued a partial vacate order in April after an inspector determined the owner had “illegally converted the cellar level into transient use without required egress, fire and sprinklers.”

The building was also issued five Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations as a result of that inspection, and a 2017 inspection also resulted in three ECB violations related to transient use.

In total, the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) has issued 80 violations from DOB inspectors, nine fire violation orders, five fire summonses and one fire criminal summons to the three defendants controlling the buildings, according to the press release.

In addition, the OSE has identified 10 bookings for future dates at the buildings in question.

“This is highly commercialized activity where operators are misleading visitors and taking housing units away from New Yorkers — and they’re making a fortune in the process,” said Christian Klossner, executive director of the OSE. “We’re taking action to preserve the city’s housing stock and to defend visitors’ rights to safe and legal accommodations.”

The release also notes that Queens has experienced a significant amount of growth in short-term rental listings in recent years. In August, the mayor signed into law a provision that would require online short-term rental platforms that provide booking services for a fee to provide information about those transactions to the OSE.

“Illegal hotel operators like the ones in this suit exacerbate the city’s housing affordability crisis,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “Shady profiteers like these that use our badly needed housing stock to turn a quick buck are shameful, and this is a perfect example of why we need to maintain enforcement efforts against this harmful behavior. I am thankful that the Office of Special Enforcement is continuing its work to combat this pressing problem. The Council will continue to address this crisis in any way it can as well.”


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