MASPETH, Queens — An embattled businessman told PIX11 News Thursday his plans to convert a Maspeth Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter have been scrapped.
The decision was announced one day after PIX11 learned that a state senator has asked the district attorney to investigate Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Department of Homeless Services and Harshad Patel, the hotel owner.
The requested investigation — prompted by Patel’s admission five years ago to paying a former state elected official more than $20,000 to effect a zoning change in his favor — is meant to ensure there are no illegalities over the proposed shelter contract.
Patel says his change of heart — announced Thursday — was not triggered by state Sen. Tony Avella’s scathing letter calling for the federal investigation, but rather because as a member of the community he has decided not to go against the wishes of the masses who have protested the plan.
He also ultimately realized it is bad for business.
“We plead to the community to stop this protest. It has hurt our business drastically over the last few weeks,” a letter from hotel management read.