A known sex offender who was hired as an Upper West Side building superintendent, along with the building's landlord and his son, have agreed to pay a $2 million penalty in order to settle lawsuits from six female tenants who were sexually harassed.
Tenants say William Barnason, who had previously pleaded guilty to raping and molesting three young girls ages five to seven and served 14 years in prison, would drunkenly storm into their residences and demand sexual favors in return for lower rent deals.
One of the six tenants told The New York Post she believed Katz was misogynistic and used Barnason to feel powerful. During one incident where tenant Carol Engle complained about her high rent, Engle said Barnason eerily answered, "You should have been nicer to Billy" implying her situation would have been different had she complied with his sexual demands.
The announced $2 million settlement will bar landlord Stanley Katz, who has defended Barnason as a "prized employee," from managing properties and Barnason from both maintaining or managing properties in the future.
The settlement also includes Katz's son Stephen who was hired in 2009 to help manage the buildings. According to the formal complaint, the son would routinely threaten female tenants and engaged in "humiliating and abusive behavior."