Stay of execution: Owner of Ridge’s Prince Hotel sues city to stop auction

Nearly a month after it was announced that the Prince Hotel would soon be on the market, owners have taken the city to court to stop the sale.

Daniel Abramson, the mayor’s Brooklyn borough director, informed local residents present for Community Board 10’s April 19 general board meeting that the establishment’s owner, Moses Fried, had filed suit against the mayor’s office.

“His lawyers have brought our lawyers to court,” Abramson said, explaining that, until a decision is made, the collection of fees at the front desk by the sheriff’s office has been temporarily halted. “We have a hearing on May 13 to decide whether the fees and the methods of collection and, hopefully our ability to sell the property, are legal according to this judge.”

Still, Abramson said, the mayor’s office will continue to promote the public auction of the Prince – an alleged hotbed of drugs, prostitution and violence in the neighborhood that has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines over the years.

According to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, Fried had accumulated a whopping $400,000 in fines for violations on his property – located at 315 93rd Street – dating back as far as 1995.

As of February, out of the 71 active Department of Buildings (DOB) violations on file for the building, 23 of them were for construction and work without permit violations. The property had also amassed 60 Environmental Control Board (ECB) violations, 50 of which are Failure to Comply orders – with the most recent violations issued in September of 2015.

Specific violations include several missing Certificates of Occupancy; Work without Permits while installing fire alarms, gas lines and plumbing; failure to maintain building codes for electrical lines and sprinklers; and illegal use as a transient hotel in a residential district.

The Sheriff’s Office descended upon the hotel on Wednesday, February 17 – less than 24 hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio promised “aggressive enforcement” against the hostelry at a Bay Ridge town hall meeting.

The public auction process – a sale which happens when either a court of law or government agency take control of a property – is open to any and all bidders.

As of now, the public auction of the Prince Hotel is still scheduled for Wednesday, June 8 at 1 p.m. at the King’s County Sherriff’s Office (210 Joralemon Street, Room 909).

When asked just what would go in the Prince’s place, Beckmann noted that, as it stands, the space can legally be used for 20 Class A (or long-term) apartments and 20 transient rooms, as in a hotel.

“Right now it’s operating as 57 transient rooms, contrary to code,” she said.

Though, Community Board 10 Chair Brian Kieran and Abramson agreed that, at the public auction — should it go forward, it’s anybody’s game.

“It’s an open bidding process,” stressed Abramson.

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