Airbnb won a legal victory against New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman yesterday, but the AG’s office hasn’t given up.
Airbnb was subpoenaed last fall, with Schneiderman seeking records on all hosts in New York. A judge in the state Supreme Court struck down the subpoena, siding with Airbnb’s argument that it was “overbroad.” However, the AG’s office responded that would reissue the subpoena in a way that addressed the judge’s concerns.
It seems that’s exactly what happened today. We just received the following written statement from Schneiderman’s spokesperson Matt Mittenthal:
Since the judge rejected all of AirBnb’s arguments except for a narrow technical matter, our office has served the company with a new subpoena that addresses that issue. The judge specifically found evidence that a ‘substantial’ number of Airbnb hosts may be violating the tax laws and the law that prohibits illegal hotels. The time has come for Airbnb to stop shielding hosts who may be violating a law that provides vital protections for building residents and tourists.
And here’s a statement from Airbnb in response:
The Airbnb community wants to pay New York more than $20 million in additional taxes this year, bring more travelers to the state, and support more jobs. And when we discovered that some people were abusing our platform, we removed them from our site altogether.
It is certainly disappointing that the Attorney General’s office continues to demand private information about thousands of Airbnb hosts, so many of whom struggle every day just to make ends meet.
We are reviewing this new demand, but remain eager to work with the Attorney General and we will continue to advocate for New Yorkers who simply want to share their homes.