A retired police officer and now private investigator, Saul Roth has filed a lawsuit for undisclosed damages against The Benjamin Hotel. The suit he filed alleges that Roth has suffered emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress as a result of the hotel’s heavy-handed guards who allegedly “aided and abetted immoral contracts for sexual services on their premises.
It sounds as though Mr. Roth is upset about what took place in the hotel and he is trying to retaliate. Retaliate for what? Keep reading.
The New York Post reported that Roth, a private investigator with International Investigative Group was following a male suspected of cheating on his wife. The unidentified man entered The Benjamin Hotel and Mr. Roth followed him to the 11th floor of which rooms were apparently $479 a night.
Roth covertly videotaped the man knocking on a room door which was eventually opened by a young woman in a bathrobe.
The suit that Mr. Roth filed states he could hear Jazz music in the room and could hear a male’s voice in the room tell a female to put lipstick on because that turns him (the alleged cheating husband) on.
Another report from the Daily News states that the cheating man left the hotel room 1 ½ hours later. It states Mr. Roth then knocked on the door to inquire about her name. This is when security was called and Mr. Roth was allegedly stopped in the lobby area.
And that is when things took a turn for the worst. Not for the man he was following but for Mr. Roth.
A security guard approached Mr. Roth and asked him what he was doing. Roth told the The New York Post that he identified himself as working for a private investigative firm and tried to identify himself but the guards didn’t care to see his identification.
The Post quotes Mr. Roth saying, “They made it seem like I was some sort of lunatic in the building, who was scaring people. When I tried to leave they held out their arms, grabbed my clothing and pushed me back to show me I wasn’t going anywhere.”
Mr. Roth reached out to his supervisor who called the hotel. The hotel informed the supervisor that they were protecting the privacy of a million-dollar client. The investigative firm referred to this client as a $2,500 hooker however they would not provide how they knew that information.
The New York Police Department eventually made it to the hotel and ordered the security guards to release Mr. Roth. Mr. Roth states in the official suit that the security guards requested that they escort Mr. Roth out to look good for their client (the alleged prostitute).
Mr. Roth is again quoted in the Post saying,” I’m a retired Nassau county police officer,” Roth fumed. “They were very unprofessional and this was unjustified.”
The suit also states the hotel, “aided and abetted immoral contracts for sexual services on their premises that attracted [his] surveillance work.”
FACEBOOK SUGGESTIONS AND COMMENTS ON THIS STORY
I originally found this article trough a Facebook group and I began reading the comments below the shared article. Because I disagreed with some of the individuals that commented and I didn’t want to appear to bash anyone personally I left the names out. This also gives you some insight to my thinking as an investigator.
One comment stated,” Unless the PI was a registered guest, then I will have to side with the hotel on this one. Hotels have to maintain confidentiality of all guests with the exception of child abuse, domestic violence and related crimes.”
I partially agree with this statement. Yes, hotels need to protect their guests. Unless it is law enforcement I would have to believe that hotels are not required hotels are to give out any guest information especially to private investigators.
Another comment stated, “The best is to park outside of the hotel parking lot and get pictures . Also if they smoke it’s great case they have to go outside to smoke .”
Depending on the hotel I would agree with this investigator’s thinking. Just being at a hotel can be incriminating to some degree already for the individual he is watching.
Another comment states,” I don’t see what “right” he had to be on private property, regardless of whatever “immoral activities” were taking place there. The security guards, as agents of the owner, had every right to tell him to leave, unless he had a warrant or the hotel’s permission to be there. What am I missing?”
I agree with this comment completely. This person wasn’t missing anything. Regardless of whatever P.I. License you may hold it doesn’t allow you to do whatever you want.
Another one said,” Yeah, I hate to admit it, but he wasn’t a guest, so they had every right to throw him out and maybe could charged him with trespassing. Sounds like he’s still thinking he’s a cop and not a PI.”
I think there could be some truth in this statement because Mr. Roth in this article is way more upset then he should be.
This comment irritated me a bit because the tip seemed to come right out of a movie. ” I have been a international private investigator for over 15 years. I have never had a issue with hotels. There are ways to be on property with the hotels permission even in NY- CA. You just have to be a good at pretexting. I even obtain copy of security video of the lobby and the hallway if there was one. Or pay to go in the hotel room after the guests check out while the maids clean the room. Lastly you can check in the room catty corner from the subject. Then make a hidden camera in a small trash can. Then place it on motion facing the subjects room propping your door open. There is a lot more ways to handle this. If you or anyone needs help or tips call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”
Everything about this comment seems wrong. A high end, $500 a night hotel is not going to give anyone anything especially video within the hotel. Heck, even with the proper authority, I have problems getting video tape from hotels. Some random investigator is not going to get access to that information. Paying off maids and renting a room next to the hotel room you want to be next to sounds wonderful in a magical world. A magical world where no one calls the police on you for trying to spy on a guest especially when you have no idea how long the person you are watching is going to be there.
The last comment I replied to was the following comment. “When doing a surveillance like this, it’s better to get the property owner/manager’s permission. On this one deadbeat parent case that I worked, I was able to obtain permission from a property owner to place cameras in his privately owned postal service. I set one camera up on a tall shelf, then disguised it by surrounding it with toys on the shelf. I placed a second camera in a magazine rack so that I had two points of reference on the subject when he arrived. I was able to get my client the evidence needed for the case, and I had no problems from any workers.”
I commented back and forth with this individual and disagreed with his line of thinking. He basically believed that he could work something out with the staff to be able to set up cameras somewhere in the hotel and because the investigator in the article could not do that, the surveillance failed.
The individual does not take anything into consideration like the flow of a surveillance, the surroundings, the type of hotel it was, the type of investigation that it was. It’s an infidelity case where a man is cheating and you don’t know how long he will be at the hotel. Then you want to try and get the hotel or staff to allow you to put up cameras? This is asking for a visit from the police.
My Final Thoughts On This Article
Every little part of the story in this article revealed something about the private investigator Mr. Roth and the surveillance.
One thing to note is that he is a retired police officer and he makes sure to share that information as if that is suppose to provide him more credibility or clout.
If it was the woman calling on him, he likely had it coming by knocking on the door and trying to get her name. It was probably the one extra thing that was unnecessary and caused him to draw attention to himself and eventually get caught.
He paints a very vague picture of what he was doing to get the information he was getting. How could he hear what was going on in the hotel room unless he was loitering around the front door of the room. He likely looked creepy and just like a lunatic who was scaring people (as he stated in the complaint).
Mr. Roth was on private property and had reason to be on the property other than to document what the man was doing (who did have reason to be there). You can identify yourself as a private investigator all you want but it doesn’t make what you are doing look any less creepy or suspicious. Anyone can create identification that identifies them self as something they are not. Being a private investigator and a former law enforcement officer does not provide you any special treatment.
If I followed the man to the room I would hope to goodness I could get some video of the person opening the door as I passed by but would do nothing to draw attention to myself. If there were video cameras in the hallways I would be especially careful. And though I can see (kinda) why he would attempt to get the alleged prostitutes name, I don’t know that it would actually add anymore value then he already gained. How did he know if she would even provide a real name?
I think this private investigator had his feelings and pride hurt more than anything. He pushed the case too far and got caught. If he wouldn’t have drawn attention to himself then this wouldn’t have been a story.
What do you think of the story from the New York Post?