The New York Daily News “Stole” the Empire State Building and It Only Took 90 Minutes

In one of the biggest heists in American History, the Daily News stole the $2 billion Empire State Building…..and it wasn’t that hard. The newspaper swiped the 102-story skyscraper by drawing up a batch of bogus documents, making a fake notary stamp, and filing paperwork with the city to transfer the deed to the property. Some of the information was downright laughable: Original King Kong star Fay Wray was listed as a witness, and the notary’s name was listed as Willie Sutton, after the famous bank robber. The massive ripoff illustrated a gaping hole in the city’s system for recording deeds, mortgages, and other transactions. The loophole: The system — run by the office of the city register — doesn’t require checks to verify the information. Less than 90 minutes after the bogus documents were submitted on Dec. 1, 2008, the agency rubber-stamped the transfer from Empire State Land Associates to Nelots (“stolen” spelled backwards) Properties LLC. Needless to say, the Daily News returned the property the next day.