City cracks down on Bay Ridge hotel after years of complaints and violations

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BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn -- After years of complaints and violations, the city is finally cracking down on a Brooklyn Hotel.

Neighbors say the Prince Hotel in Bay Ridge has been home to drug dealing and prostitution for decades. Last night sheriff's deputies raided the run-down boarding house after dozens of building violations.

"We didn't realize how quickly he meant," said Councilman Vincent Gentile.

Gentile couldn't believe it when the sheriff's deputies stormed the Prince Hotel Wednesday Night. Mayor Bill de Blasio making good on a promise to deal with the Bay Ridge headache after years of pervasive problems in the neighborhood.

"We've had continuing problems over the years of rowdiness, drug activity," said Gentile.

The latest incident came in the form of a drug arrest about a week ago. The Mayor called for the crackdown thanks to dozens of open building violations dating back as far as 2007.

Issues ranging from broken elevators, to illegal construction. The outstanding fines totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Thursday, guests at the hotel told us sheriff's deputies were still collecting fees.

"Just basically that the hotel has a debt to pay off, and that I would have to pay them until this debt is paid off," said one man who did not want to give his name as he checked out.

Neighbors told us the situation has improved slightly since the attached bar 93 Lounge closed down about two years ago after losing it's liquor license. The hotel owner, Moses Fried, had two other hotels shutdown for drugs and prostitution years ago. We reached out for comment, but never heard back.

"What has impacted the community is the type of activity that's been going on here over the years. And we've tried to deal with the ownership, the landlord, and it's been to no avail," Gentile said.

With the Department of Education getting ready to open a new Universal Pre-k school just down the block, he says he hopes this is the beginning of the end for the reign of the Prince Hotel in his district.

"It's my hope that eventually we will be able to close this hotel down and use the property for something more useful."

Thursday afternoon, sheriff's deputies still occupied the hotel lobby, but a court could overturn their ability to collect the hotel's debt directly from customers. Until then, the Mayor and Gentile say it's a strong sign they mean business.