Local officials react to Rotterdam motel housing migrants, evicting previous residents

Local officials are reacting after migrants moved into the Super 8 Motel in Rotterdam after the previous residents were forced out.

Schenectady County Legislature Chair Anthony Jasenski sent a letter to New York State Attorney General Letitia James requesting an investigation of the Super 8 Motel in the Town of Rotterdam Friday.

In the letter he asks James to investigate allegations of consumer abuse by the Super 8 Motel in Rotterdam after residents were forced out.

“The motel was regularly used by Departments of Social Services to house people in those programs,” Jasenski said.

“This after residents were told they had to evacuate the Motel by 11:00 a.m. on July 18 because the motel was closing, only to see 2 busloads of migrants move in. It’s clear that motel management threw out their occupants in order to cash in on a lucrative contract with New York City. Not only did they lie about closing the motel, it appears that they also failed to provide them with proper notice before they threw them out to make rooms available for asylum seekers from the city, at a higher room rate. I have been advised by the Schenectady County Attorney’s Office this was likely done in violation of law. We respect the rights of the asylum seekers searching for a better life. However, it is unconscionable that a business owner would use asylum seekers as an opportunity to harm other individuals facing their own hardships.”

The Schenectady County Attorney’s Office also sent a letter to Jasenski which says, “it appears that the motel owner likely violated provisions of the New York State Real Property Law and/or New York State Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is also weighing in on the situation.

He sent a letter to New York City Mayor Eric Adams Sunday, expressing his concerns and dissatisfaction with busing migrant individuals from New York City to upstate communities, including Rotterdam, without any prior notice.  

Santabarbara emphasized the importance of a fair and equitable approach to handling migration and providing assistance to those in need. The lack of communication and consultation with local officials has raised significant ethical and logistical concerns among residents of upstate communities, he said.

“It is essential that our communities be informed and engaged in any decisions that directly impact the people living here,” Santabarbara said. “The absence of such communication leaves us ill prepared to provide the necessary support and resources to these individuals which can lead to unintended consequences and strains on local infrastructure:”  

The Assemblyman also expressed concern over the displacement of people already residing in facilities in upstate communities, particularly those living in poverty and experiencing personal hardships themselves.

He emphasized that upstate communities already have their own challenges in addressing poverty and ensuring the welfare of residents, and the busing operations without proper planning or support mechanisms can exacerbate these existing issues, creating further hardships for vulnerable individuals already facing adversity.

In his letter, Assemblyman Santabarbara urged Mayor Adams to reconsider the current approach to addressing the challenges faced by migrants arriving in New York City, to consider the socioeconomic impacts of these decisions, and to work collaboratively with local officials to find sustainable solutions that do not worsen the struggles of those already facing poverty in upstate communities.