SUNNYSIDE — The property manager at a local condominium building who covered the lobby with a controversial collage that included photos of Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini was arrested Sunday on stalking and harassment charges, according to the NYPD.
A former neighbor of manager Neal Milano, 69, complained that that he'd repeatedly followed her around their apartment building at 39th Place and 48th Avenue yelling obscenities, and on two separate occasions grabbed her arm and pulled on her, police said.
The woman says the bad behavior occurred at least 20 times between September 2016 and July of this year, including one instance in which Milano threatened to burn the building down, according to a criminal complaint. On other occasions he hurled a host of curse words at the tenant, calling her "f---ing b---h" and other slurs, causing her to fear for her safety, the woman told police.
Milano was taken into custody around 2:20 p.m. Sunday at the 108th Precinct, an NYPD spokesman said. He was arraigned Monday morning on charges of assault in the third degree, stalking in the fourth degree, and harassment in the first and second degrees, according to a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
He was released the Monday after posting $2,500 bail, records show. His attorney declined to comment to DNAinfo, but denied the accusations against his client to the New York Post.
Milano — identified by officials as the property manager and board member at the condo building 47-55 39th Place — made headlines in recent weeks for the bizarre decorations in the building's lobby, which included images of infamous dictators, pro-gun posters and Trump stickers alongside American flags and pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer denounced the display, calling them "images of hate," and a vigilante activist tore down some of the posters — including pictures of Hitler and a swastika — last week.Some of the images of guns posted in the lobby of the building on 39th Place. (Credit: Jimmy Van Bramer's Office)
The city's Commission on Human Rights said that it is investigating Milano based on "a pattern of threatening and harassing behavior" reported by residents who live in his building, a mix of condo owners and renters. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office is also conducting a separate investigation into reports of harassment at the building.
Neighbors previously told DNAinfo that Milano would threaten tenants with fines if they did things he didn't like, and monitored them via the building's security cameras. They say he's sent letters to everyone in the building in which he publicly accused residents by name of alleged misdeeds, like not sorting their recycling properly or having a guest stay over.
"It's creepy and disturbing," one neighbor, who declined to give her name, told DNAinfo last month. "My right to privacy and my right to peace in my own home is being violated. It's terrible."
Milano is due back in court on Sept. 8, according to the Queens DA's office.