From Wall Street Journal:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration filed a lawsuit on Monday against what is believed to be the largest operator of illegal hotels in New York City, seeking $1 million in damages and the creation of a restitution fund for tourists who have been duped and exposed to dangerous conditions.
The lawsuit in state Supreme Court accuses Smart Apartments LLC and Toshi Inc., a related company that was dissolved last year, of operating illegal short-stay rooms in as many as 50 residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The suit also named as a defendant Robert "Toshi" K.Y. Chan, the companies' principal executive, who appeared in an Academy Award-winning film, "The Departed," and is known for throwing lavish parties in New York.
"Illegal hotel operators create hazardous conditions and place the lives of guests in danger," Mr. Bloomberg said in an email. "With this lawsuit, we are sending a clear message to operators of all illegal hotels: Our administration will remain vigilant in its commitment to combating this public safety problem."
Mr. Chan declined a request for an interview. Jonathan Nelson, an attorney representing Smart Apartments, said in a statement that the litigation "apparently is directed toward situations that have allegedly occurred in the past."