By Brooklyn Reader

May 14, 2014, 6:00 am

 

Airbnb Said to Be Raising Funding At $10 Billion ValuationA state Supreme Court ruled in Airbnb’s favor on Tuesday to dismiss a subpoena from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requesting personal information about its users, saying the materials sought were “irrelevant to the inquiry at hand,” reported the Daily News

Schneiderman’s office subpoenaed a wide range of records on Airbnb’s New York City hosts– including names, addresses, rates, tax data of Airbnb’s users for the past three years– to see how many are abusing the system.

The ruling was a big setback for Schneiderman who charges that Airbnb makes half its revenue from the New York City market by hosting users operating illegal hotels.

But the Attorney General’s office said it expected to reissue a subpoena this week and pointed out that the court ruled with Schneiderman on many points:

“The judge’s decision specifically found evidence that a substantial number of Airbnb hosts may be violating the tax laws and the law that prohibits illegal hotels,” said Schneiderman’s spokesman Matt Mittenthal.

“This comes as no surprise, given that Airbnb itself removed some 2,000 New York-based listings from its site. Our office is committed to enforcing a law that provides vital protections for building residents and tourists alike.”

Meanwhile, in a two-page letter to MTA chairman Tom Prendergast, Public Advocate Letitia James blasted the transit authority for advertising Airbnb’s services, citing the MTA’s advertising standards, which states that ads promoting “unlawful or illegal goods, services or activities” should not be displayed.

In the letter, James wrote that a series of advertisements at Penn Station “seriously calls into question whether this firm is facilitating or encouraging illegal behavior, including violating New York State law which prohibits New Yorkers from renting out entire apartments for less than 30 consecutive days.”


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