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SOHO NO GO

Paul Manafort was renting his New York apartment (probably illegally) on Airbnb

Alison Griswold
By Alison Griswold

Reporter

Buried in the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business parter Richard Gates is a brief discussion of a condominium purchased by Manafort in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan.

Manafort purchased the condo on Howard Street through “MC Soho Holdings, LLC,” a corporate vehicle owned by him and his family. He paid around $2.85 million for it, using money from Manafort entities in Cyprus, where he had millions in offshore accounts.

According to the indictment, Manafort “used the property from at least January 2015 through 2016 an an income-generating rental property, charging thousands of dollars a week on Airbnb, among other places. In his tax returns, Manafort took advantage of the beneficial tax consequences of owning this rental property.”

Manafort and Gates have been charged with “conspiracy against the United States,” among other things. They are the first to be named in an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. If convicted on certain charges, Manafort would forfeit his Soho condo, among other properties, to the federal government.

It has been illegal to rent out an entire apartment in New York City for less than 30 days since 2010. Last year, New York state also made it illegal to so much as advertise rental of an entire home in the city for less than 30 days on Airbnb and other online platforms. The city has spent the better part of this year ramping up its enforcement of so-called illegal hotel laws.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the Verge, the property Manafort rented on Airbnb is no longer visible on the home-sharing site, but is listed by the Corcoran Real Estate Group as a 2,500-square-foot condo available for $14,200 a month.

Manafort’s daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Jeffrey Yohai, were sued by their building owner and landlord in October 2016 for illegally renting out three Manhattan apartments on Airbnb. The lawsuit alleged that Jessica and Yohai were listing three units they owned in the same building on Broome Street for $699 a night, plus a cleaning fee of $300 and a service fee of $127. Jessica’s name was removed from the suit in April 2017.

Two of the properties were in Jessica Manafort and Yohai’s names, and one held by “Yohai REI, LLC,” a corporate vehicle the lawsuit alleged the couple owned. The lawsuit alleged that the couple lived primarily in California, and had used various home-rentals websites, including Airbnb, to “advertise, solicit transient visitors, and operate an illegal hotel and/or bed and breakfast” in the units.

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