Today’s news:

Jamaica Howard Johnson catered to prostitutes: DA

Three hotel staffers and a suspected pimp who operated out of the inn, located at 153-95 Rockaway Blvd., were arrested and charged with numerous prostitution-related offenses Saturday. The DA said they were caught as part of an undercover investigation by the police that began Nov. 17 and ended with a raid of the inn Friday."While the Howard Johnson Express Inn catered for the most part to business travelers and others, it allegedly had a darker, more seamier side being run under the watchful eye of its staffers," Brown said in a statement.Three hotel clerks, Sariq Iftekhar, 22, of 107-31 123rd St.; Naseeb Roomi, of 136-37 59th Ave.; and Duaraknath Nandori, 53, of 144-07 Sanford Ave., allowed undercover officers, who posed as prostitutes, to book rooms without requesting identification or requiring them to sign a guest book, according to the DA.The clerks were arraigned Saturday on several charges, including commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. All pleaded not guilty and were ordered held on $25,000 bail, Brown said.Although the Howard Johnson was still open pending a court order as of press time due to a number of legitimate guests staying there, it was ordered by the DA not to accept new customers.Lamont Babb, 30, of 141-59 85th Rd., was also arrested as part of the sting, and was charged Saturday with attempted promoting prostitution and endangering the welfare of a child. Babb allegedly reserved a room for two undercover officers posing as prostitutes Friday and said he would be their pimp, the DA said.Outside the hotel, officers observed Babb's 5-year-old daughter sitting inside a blue Ford Taurus with two women who have pending prostitution cases, according to Brown. Babb, who pleaded not guilty, was ordered to be held on $10,000 bail, according to the DA. He and the three hotel clerks were expected to return to court on March 28.They each could face up to four years in prison if convicted, Brown said.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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