What you are about to read is a horrific report about Airbnb where new reports and allegations say they have a team known as the “Black Box” team that pays out over $50 million to cover up disaster stays.
According to The Daily Mail, the secretive safety team, known as the ‘black box’ inside the firm, is made up of around 100 agents across cities including Dublin, Montreal, and Singapore.
These team members have the power to spend any amount of money tackling the worst crisis at their rentals including sexual assaults, murders and deaths.
They are then tasked with providing support to guests and hosts and also working to keep the incidents out of the public eye.
Nick Shapiro, ex-National Security Council adviser to Barack Obama and deputy chief of staff at the Central Intelligence Agency, worked as crisis manager.
Shapiro, who has since left the role, told Bloomberg the crises facing the company reminded him of the White House Situation Room.
A rape victim received a $7 million payout in exchange for agreeing not to ‘imply responsibility or liability’ on Airbnb or the host.
The 2016 incident saw an alleged ‘career criminal’ use a duplicate key to enter a New York City rental and attack her at knifepoint.
In 2018, Carla Stefaniak was murdered by a security guard at a Costa Rica Airbnb, while in 2019 five were shot dead at a mansion party in California.
Airbnb has spent an estimated $50 million every year on crisis payouts.
The Following is from The Daily Mail.
The short-term property rental company, which went public in December, has spent an estimated $50 million every year on payouts to hosts and guests when things go wrong, according to Bloomberg Businessweek which interviewed several former members of the secretive safety team.
Several former Airbnb safety agents described the extent of their tasks, preventing PR disasters for the firm and providing support to both guests and hosts who fell victim to horrific crimes inside the walls of the rentals.
Some said they had to arrange for contractors to cover bullet holes in the walls of properties or hire body-fluid crews to clean blood off the floors, the report said.
In extreme cases, they had to deal with hosts who discover dismembered human remains inside their homes.
Others said they had to provide support to guests who had been assaulted by guests and had resorted to hiding in wardrobes or running from secluded cabins from the perpetrators.
The Daily Mail continues…
The team has covered costs including for counseling, new accommodation, flights, and sexually transmitted disease tests and health costs for rape survivors among other things, according to the report.
Airbnb hired high profile political crises experts to work on the team, including Nick Shapiro, former National Security Council advisoe to Barack Obama and deputy chief of staff at the Central Intelligence Agency, who was brought on as its crisis manager.
Shapiro, who has since left the role, told Bloomberg the crises facing the company reminded him of the White House situation room.
‘I remember thinking I was right back in the thick of it,’ he said.
‘This brought me back to feelings of confronting truly horrific matters at Langley and in the Situation Room at the White House.’ Langley is the home of the CIA.
Some of the examples that happened are horrific. In one situation an unidentified Australian woman, who was 29 at the time, and a group of friends had rented a first floor apartment on the West 37th Street, close to Times Square. According to Bloomberg, the group picked the apartment without showing any form of identification. They went to a party together, but the 29-year-old returned back to the property alone ahead of her friends. The suspect, a 24-year-old Junior Lee, was allegedly already inside the apartment hiding in the bathroom when she returned.
Lee raped her at knife point. Lee then returned later that night when police were there and was arrested and charged with predatory sexual assault. Police stated that he had a set of keys to the apartment on him when they made the arrest.
The incident remained unknown until now.
Two years later, Airbnb reportedly paid the victim $7 million in an agreement that she would not blame or sue Airbnb or the host.
It is not clear how the alleged rapist had keys to the property but, under Airbnb rules, hosts are not required to disclose to guests who has a copy of the key or change codes on keypad locks in between guests.
In another incident, a Florida woman Carla Stefaniak was murdered by a security guard at the apartment complex where she was renting an Airbnb in Costa Rica in 2018.
Her partially buried body was found half-naked and covered in plastic bags by sniffer dogs 200 feet away from her airbnb. She suffered a blunt force wound to the head and stab wounds. She told friends that the accommodation was ‘Sketchy” and that there was heavy rain and no power. She said in a FaceTime call that she might ask the security guard at the Airbnb to buy her water because of the storm.
Bismark Espinoza Martinez, 33, was sentenced last year to 16 years in prison for her murder. Her family sued Airbnb claiming it failed to perform a background check on the security guard, who it transpired was working in the county illegally. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
You can read more of this insanity from our friends at The Daily Mail.