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$100k Fines Threatened Against Airbnb's Illegal Hotels

A heated New York City Council hearing covering three bills designed to crack down on businesses like Airbnb, lasted more than five hours on Friday, with potential fines of up to $100k tossed around.

The hearing lasted more than five hours, with testimony on three different bills, the New York Post reports. One bill from Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal proposed doubling maximum fines for violators from $25k to $50k. Chris Lehane, head of global policy for Airbnb, testified that Airbnb supports efforts to "go after illegal hoteliers, but claimed the bills were extreme and harmful to middle-class hosts who use the site to get by.

When Lehane couldn't provide customer data requested by the committee, councilman Jumaane Williams threatened to seek $100k fines for "illegal hotels." Lehane said he hopes Williams wasn't serious, saying he can't imagine a bill that would fine $100k to someone like a "grandma who goes and stays with her kids a couple of weekends a month." Meanwhile, outside City Hall, 100 housing advocates rallied for the bills, while 80 Airbnb supporters protested. [NYP]