Over 900 residents and business owners crowded into the Brotherhood Synagogue to hear tales of horror about the 22-floor 641-room Kenmore Hotel located at 145 E 23rd St (next to the Post Office), which had become the "epicenter of crime in the neighborhood."
Dire Conditions at the Kenmore
They described rampant drug dealing, armed robberies, break-ins (3-4 times a day), prostitution, rampaging gangs of former Rikers inmates, violent fights, murders and crime that spilled over into the streets.
They described collapsing floors, gaping holes, little sanitation, rats, no heat, electricity or hot water for weeks at a time, and for months elderly having to walk up 22 floors due to broken elevators.
Residents living in fear
Residents, many with special needs, were so frequently victimized that they became prisoners in their own rooms, living in constant fear and afraid to come out. Community residents feared walking by the Kenmore, and nearby
businesses frequently closed.
Governor Mario Cuomo visited the Kenmore Hotel
Course of Action
Congresswoman Maloney and Police Commissioner Bratton remained with Harrison after the meeting to determine a course of action.
Maloney then went to the Justice Department and in 10 days Attorney General Janet Reno visited the Kenmore. Governor Mario Cuomo also visited the Kenmore.
June 8, 1994: Federal Seizure of the Kenmore
After a series of undercover operations over a 3 month period, Federal Marshalls and the FBI seized the Kenmore Hotel, the largest asset seizure in the history of the federal government to this day.
Hero of the Kenmore: 13th Precinct Police Officer Scott Kimmins
The takeover succeeded in such a short time (3 months) because of evidence collected and carefully documented during an 8 year period by 13th Precinct Police Officer Scott Kimmins.
|Gramercy Park community and officials honor Hero of the Kenmore Police Officer Scott Kimmins|
Officer Kimmins' role in the takeover
On a daily basis, Officer Kimmins addressed hazardous conditions, mediated disputes, arrested dealers, comforted the innocent, and worked with city agencies to improve conditions and control crime.
Kimmins made daily visits to residents with special needs, who he treated like family who "needed my personal protection." Residents counted on his visits, and those too terrified to leave their rooms, would come out only when he was there.