For several days we've been reporting on a Queens House of Horrors — a condominium where the property manager is accused of offensive and intimidating behavior. Now, residents and community leaders are calling for a full investigation. NY1's Clodagh McGowan broke the story and filed the following report.
A neighborhood in an uproar: City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens led a rally, alleging that hate has a home at a Sunnyside condominium.
This came after NY1 broke the story of the strange happenings there, such as pictures of Hitler, Mussolini, a swastika, and the Confederate flag adorning the lobby.
"They are terrified. The people in this building are absolutely terrified," Van Bramer said at the rally.
Local officials and leaders of Jewish groups and the Anti-Defamation League held a news conference outside the building, calling for an investigation.
They were joined by residents and condo owners who blamed Neal Milano, who sits on the condo board and is listed as the property manager.
They said he put up the images and bullies residents with absurd charges, such as a fee for having overnight visitors.
Tenant Cici Halai: In April, my mom comes and this guy charges me like $200 for the visitor fee.
McGowan: And you paid him?
Halai: Yeah, I paid him.
A video posted on YouTube on Wednesday, seen above, shows Milano threatening eviction over a supposed rule violation:
"You go by the rules! You'll be evicted by this building! You're going to have rugs on your floor by August!" Milano said.
"I have rugs on my floor," someone responded.
"You what? You what?" Milano said.
"I'm recording all of this," said another person, who was recording.
"I don't care what you record! You got to go by the rules!" Milano said.
Milano is out of the country, but his attorney said the images are part of a historical display, and that iconic welcoming symbols like the Statue of Liberty are also posted. "No fair observer would conclude that it is bigoted in any way," he said.
"It appears that some dissatisfied Unit Owners have turned to the media with skewed accounts and false narratives. Ultimately, we are confident that the Condominium which is being smeared will be vindicated, and the truth will emerge amidst irresponsible accounts that have been conveyed," attorney Jacob Laufer added.
The NYPD said its Hate Crimes Task Force is "monitoring" the situation. The mayor's office said it is "looking into the matter," and anyone in the building who feels harassed should call the city's commission on human rights at 718-722-3131.