Published: July 14, 2015
Publication: Daily News
A prominent Manhattan attorney has landed on the wrong side of the law.
Arthur Schwartz, accompanied by his lawyer, surrendered Tuesday morning at the Sixth Precinct in Manhattan — the latest twist in a bitter dispute between a landlord and a 93-year-old tenant.
Schwartz was charged with one count of grand larceny for removing five surveillance cameras last month from the fifth-floor hallway outside his client’s apartment at 95 Christopher St.
He was released without bail hours later after a hearing before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Denise Dominguez.
According to Schwartz, the cameras were hidden in the ceiling molding opposite elderly tenant Ruth Berk’s front door and used to spy on her.
“I’m the guardian for a … woman who was being harassed by her landlord,” Schwartz said after the hearing. “All I did was abate the harassment and turn the materials over to the attorney general.”
The building manager reported the missing surveillance cameras, valued at about $4,000, to the local precinct.
Schwartz acknowledged taking the video equipment when contacted by detectives, and arranged to surrender. But he said the grand larceny charges were “preposterous” and the value of the cameras was about $90 each.
The lawyer sent the cameras to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s tenant harassment unit for possible investigation.
Schwartz, the attorney for Berk, said he yanked the cameras because his client was the target of harassment. The nonagenarian’s monthly rent for the penthouse home is $700.
The rent-stabilized property could possibly rent for 10 times that amount on the open market.