Sales  ·  Hotels

Deed to New Yorker Hotel Again Transferred to Alleged Fraudster

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The hijinks of yesteryear may be repeating themselves at the New Yorker Hotel at 481 Eighth Avenue.

Four years after Mickey Barreto of Mickey Barreto Missions reportedly tried to turn a one-night stay at the historic hotel into a rental lease, documents filed in public records show that the historic hotel’s deed was transferred for $400 million.

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The buyer’s name? Mickey Barreto Missions. The seller? Mickey Barreto Missions, his nonprofit organization that has never owned the building.

An unusual filing even without the history, the document is dated Sept. 15, 2021, but wasn’t signed by Barreto until Sept. 1 and made public by the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) until Wednesday morning, according to property records.

Neither Mickey Barreto Missions nor Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which operates the building and had Barreto evicted in 2019, responded to requests for comment.

In July, the $106 million loan on the building from M&T Bank (MTB) hit the debt market with the credit line maturing sometime in October at a default rate of 15 percent, Commercial Observer reported at the time. It sold to Yellowstone Real Estate Investments in September.

Barreto’s filing attempts to take advantage of a rule regarding rent-stabilized hotels, which allow some guests to become tenants if they request a lease. Barreto instead tried to take the entire cake when the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, the hotel’s owner, denied him a lease agreement and filed a deed transfer for the hotel.

What ensued was a court battle after New York City Civil Court Judge Jack Stoller ordered that the hotel let Barreto back into the building and the DOF processed paperwork that acknowledged his ownership of the entire building.

The 2019 deed transfer was for $189 million and classified the hotel as a “religious structure.”

Not only did Barreto request $14 million from the owners of the building, but he tried to take over operations from the Wyndham, have bank accounts tied to the hotel transferred into his name and began shaking down restaurant tenants for rent, the New York Post reported at the time.

In the end, a New York State Supreme Court judge sided with the plaintiffs and acknowledged that the deed was fraudulent.

The owners of the hotel could not be reached for comment, and the DOF did not respond to an inquiry.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.