FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 1, 2024
MTA Employee Indicted for Running Brothel Out of Greenpoint Apartment
Investigation Prompted by Neighbors’ Complaints About Strange Men Inside the Building
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Brooklyn man has been arraigned on an indictment in which he is charged with promoting prostitution for allegedly running a brothel out of his Greenpoint apartment. The defendant is employed as a structural maintainer with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He is currently suspended.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “The alleged illegal brothel that the defendant was operating in a residential building caused numerous disruptions for tenants concerned about their well-being. I am committed to responding to complaints from neighbors concerned about maintaining their quality of life and safety.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as David Blakis, 46, of Greenpoint, in Brooklyn. The defendant was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with third- and fourth-degree promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution. He was ordered to return to court on May 8, 2024.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, in February 2023, the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit received a complaint about a brothel being run out of an apartment at 1083 Manhattan Avenue, in Greenpoint. On February 11, 2023, an undercover NYPD officer arrived at the location and was buzzed into the apartment. He allegedly gave $200 to a woman inside the apartment and was given poker chips, which he was told to give to another woman inside of a bedroom in exchange for sexual intercourse.
The undercover allegedly gave the second woman the poker chips and told her he paid for sexual intercourse. She allegedly took the chips and the undercover excused himself to go to the bathroom. He then notified his field team, and the two women were arrested. The police noticed signs throughout the location in English and Spanish that read “Tip the Ladies,” “chica cards” (business cards that advertise prostitution) and mail belonging to the defendant.
Furthermore, according to the investigation, police were granted access to surveillance cameras in the building’s common area by the building’s landlord showing numerous women coming and going from the apartment for various overnight “work shifts.” Numerous men were seen coming and going from the apartment throughout the day, sometimes staying 10 to 15 minutes. Women were also seen storing their belongings inside the defendant’s mother’s apartment next door.
On November 1, 2023, it is alleged, another undercover officer went to the location and was buzzed into the apartment. The undercover allegedly spoke to the defendant inside of the apartment and agreed to pay $65 for oral sex with a woman inside of the apartment.
Finally, it is alleged, on November 10, 2023, Brooklyn DA and NYPD detectives executed a search warrant at the defendant’s apartment and saw the defendant sitting on a couch in the living room, one woman inside of a bedroom in various stages of undress with a man and a second woman who ran out of the apartment and was caught on the fire escape. There was also another man sitting on the couch who allegedly admitted being in the apartment to engage in prostitution.
Pursuant to the search warrant, eight electronic devices were recovered, including five cell phones that allegedly contained evidence of promoting prostitution including advertisements for various women, prices, time frames, and the Greenpoint location. Investigators also recovered approximately $5,000 cash, chica cards, and a 2023 calendar with women’s names on various dates.
The case was investigated by a KCDA Detective Investigator assigned to the Human Trafficking Unit with assistance from the NYPD Brooklyn VICE Module Detective Michael Wolfe, under the supervision of Sergeant Brian Gribbin.
The District Attorney thanked Human Trafficking Unit Paralegal Aurora Martinez and Digital Forensic Analyst Taylor Mumley, of the KCDA Digital Evidence Lab, for their assistance on the case.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Iorio of the District Attorney’s Human Trafficking Unit, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney David Weiss, Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Miss Gregory, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau.
An indictment is merely an accusation and not proof of a defendant’s guilt