By Bruce Golding
August 27, 2015
Airbnb has hired a veteran Democratic operative with ties to both Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio as it battles New York lawmakers who say the lucrative online business lets users break state and city laws and is fueling the city’s affordable-housing crisis.
Chris Lehane, known as the “master of disaster” for his handling of the Monica Lewinksy scandal and other Clinton administration crises, is Airbnb’s new head of global policy and public affairs, the company announced Thursday morning...
Airbnb — recently valued at $25 billion-plus ahead of an expected IPO — has been under fire from state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman over alleged tax evasion and housing-code violations committed by its “hosts.”
It’s also drawn criticism from dozens of city pols and housing advocates who say its unregulated business fills apartments with potentially dangerous strangers and encourages landlords to turn residential buildings into illegal hotels.
Lehane replaces David Hantman, who in January came under fire during a marathon City Council hearing over illegal, short-term apartment rentals.
Following that hearing, Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), said Hantman rubbed a number of pols the wrong way.
“The representatives from Airbnb were so difficult and were evasive in some ways and at times too cute by half, I think they pushed people in the other direction,” Levine told Crain’s New York Business.