Overdose death at Prince Hotel as auction approaches

A middle-aged man died of a drug overdose at the Prince Hotel on Saturday, April 30.

The medical examiner was called to the controversial hostelry, an alleged hotbed of drugs, prostitution and violence in the neighborhood, during the afternoon, after the victim was discovered lying on the floor in his room, according to reports, adding one more incident to the hotel’s checkered history.

“Firstly, it is a tragedy that another individual has succumbed to drug addiction with their life,” remarked City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, who has been pushing to have the hotel closed. “This is a nationwide and citywide epidemic that is spiraling out of control.  Secondly, any thought that the Prince Hotel is a healthy place to stay or live is simply a fallacy.”

The drug death comes two and a half months after city sheriffs descended on the Prince in the wake of a town hall at which Mayor Bill de Blasio promised swift action after issues related to the hotel were brought to his attention.

Sheriffs were then stationed at the hotel’s front desk, collecting receipts to pay down the hotel’s debt to the city, which at that time was in excess of $400,000, according to Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann, who told this paper at that time that there were 71 active Department of Buildings violations on the building and 60 Environmental Control Board violations.

Currently, a public auction of the hotel, at 315 93rd Street, has been scheduled by the city for June 8; however, following the auction notice, owner Moses Fried took the city to court to try to derail the sale. A hearing is scheduled for May 13 to determine whether the sale will proceed.

Specific violations written against the hotel 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.

Additional reporting contributed by Meaghan McGoldrick.

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