5 Pointz site owner Jerry Wolkoff is planning to appeal the verdict recently handed down by Federal Judge Frederic Block, ordering him to pay a total of $6.7 million to 21 artists after it was determined that he illegally whitewashed over graffiti artwork in 2013, reports the Queens Gazette.
Wolkoff reportedly stated that the February 12 ruling “makes no sense” and that he’s hoping that an appeals court will “see how ridiculous this whole thing is.”
Wolkoff has owned the property since around the 1990s and had an informal agreement with graffiti artists that allowed them to tag the buildings. However, around 2011 Wolkoff decided to move forward with plans to replace the graffiti mecca with two large rental towers, prompting widespread outrage. In 2013, he infamously whitewashed the graffiti-covered towers in the middle of the night, following a push by community members to get the site designated a landmark.
A jury determined that Wolkoff violated the federal Visual Artists Rights Act and Copyright Law, which states that artwork of “recognized nature” cannot be modified, demolished, or destroyed without the artists’ permission.
Curbed reached out for comment but did not immediately get a response.
- 5 Pointz Owners To Appeal Judge’s Decision [Queens Gazette]
- 5 Pointz graffiti artists awarded $6.7M by federal judge [Curbed]