Sales  ·  Hotels

Wannabe New Yorker Hotel Owner Indicted for Fraud

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The man who allegedly tried to commandeer a well-known New York City hotel in September was indicted Wednesday on charges of fraud, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced.

Mickey Barreto, 48, of Mickey Barreto Missions, was charged in connection with multiple filings he made with the New York City Department of Finance to transfer ownership of the New Yorker Hotel at 481 Eighth Avenue into the name of his religious organization, according to the DA’s office.

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“As alleged, Mickey Barreto repeatedly and fraudulently claimed ownership of one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the New Yorker Hotel,” Bragg said in a statement. “We will not tolerate manipulation of our city’s property records by those who seek to scam the system for personal gain.”

Barreto could not be reached for comment.

He was charged with 14 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and 10 counts of criminal contempt in the second degree. The allegations go back to Barreto’s one-night stay in the hotel in 2019, which he tried to turn into a rental lease.

Barreto may have been trying to take advantage of a rule regarding rent-stabilized hotels, in which guests can request a lease. But the hotel’s owner, the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, responded by removing him from the premises. Initially, New York City Civil Court Judge Jack Stoller ordered that the hotel let him back in.

Barreto then tried to take over operations of the hotel from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

Barreto filed a $189 million deed transfer in 2019, classifying the hotel as a “religious structure” owned by his missionary group. He also allegedly tried to help himself to $14 million from the Holy Spirit Association, have bank accounts tied to the hotel transferred into his name, and began pressuring restaurant tenants for rent, the New York Post reported at the time.

A lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court followed in which Barreto was forbidden from filing any further false documents regarding the building. However, he allegedly defied that order in April and September 2023 when a deed transfer for the hotel surfaced with Mickey Barreto Missions as the seller and none other than Mickey Barreto Missions as the buyer, according to the DA.

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