Developer Ordered To Pay Graffiti Artists $6.7M Over LIC Demolition
Queens developer Jerry Wolkoff will have to pay up for destroying decades' worth of street art.
A federal judge ordered Wolkoff to pay $6.7M in damages to a group of graffiti artists for painting over the renowned Long Island City mural destination 5Pointz in 2013 before demolishing the former water meter factory, CBS News reports.
Wolkoff bought the factory in the 1970s, but from 1993 to 2013 it had served as a legal place for street artists to practice and perform their craft. It was also used as artist residences until a collapsed staircase in 2009 caused a judge to rule it unsafe.
When Wolkoff got permission from the city to tear down 5Pointz to build a 1,000-plus unit condo and affordable housing complex in 2013, he quickly whitewashed the building, a full 10 months before permits allowed any demolition. Because he did not wait or show remorse for the destruction of art, Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederic Block assessed the damages.