- Last Updated: 5:04 AM, May 9, 2012
- Posted: 1:14 AM, May 9, 2012
The rent’s due NOW, buster!
An Upper West Side landlord who knowingly employed a child rapist as his building super will cough up $2 million to settle lawsuits after The Post reported allegations that the sicko pressured female tenants to have sex in exchange for reduced rent.
“I’m very happy,” Carol Engle, one of six women who will split the settlement, told The Post yesterday after signing the agreement with landlord Stanley Katz.
For years, Katz had stoutly defended his registered-sex-offender super, William Barnason, as a “prized employee.”
Engle said that when she once complained to Katz about her high rent, he told her, “You should have been nicer to Billy,’’ suggesting that if she’d slept with him, he’d have cut her a financial break.
“I said, ‘Stan, Billy is going to be the end of you, you can’t do this to people.’ And he shrugged,” she recalled.
“I think [Katz] hates women, and [keeping Barnason] was his way, so he could be powerful and feel like a real man, to abuse women,” she added.
In 2010, The Post, in the first of a series of articles, revealed claims by Engle and other women that Barnason — who had spent 14 years in prison for raping and molesting three young Long Island girls — tried shaking them down for sex, often drunk, sometimes while trying to barge into their rooms. The women said that complaints to Katz and his son, Stephen, fell on deaf ears — and that all three men routinely referred to them as “just another whore looking for a free ride.”
“Get a job!” barked Stanley Katz when a reporter asked him at the time why he was employing a child molester. He wound up finally firing Barnason weeks later amid a media onslaught.
Months afterward, the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office sued the Katzes and Barnason for violating the federal Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing female tenants — believed to be the first-ever lawsuit of its type.
The women who joined the suit included Virginia Moncada, who suspected that Barnason drugged her at a bar before another female tenant stopped him from dragging her into a vacant apartment.
A jury trial in the case was supposed to begin Monday — but was canceled after the Katzes and Barnason signed off on the deal.
The deal — which awaits a judge’s signature — bars Barnason from ever working in rental-housing properties other than to do maintenance in empty units, and as long as a minder watches him.
Stephen Katz — who manages the family’s remaining properties, at 140 W. 75 St. and 144 W. 73 St., must undergo sexual-discrimination classes as part of the deal, too.
“Part of me wanted to hand their heads [on] a platter to a jury,’’ Moncada said. “The other part, I’m glad it’s done. We had a slam-dunk case. They’re some of the worst people you could ever meet.”
Daniela Nanau, a lawyer who represented the women along with attorney Joshua Friedman, said: “This is a wake-up call to landlords that sexual harassment in housing is illegal.”
US Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The conduct alleged in this case subjected Stanley Katz’s female tenants to forms of harassment that would be unacceptable in any environment, let alone in their homes. It was also blatantly illegal.”