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5 Pointz owners appeal $6.7M settlement verdict

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A judge ruled in favor of 21 artists in February and awarded them the maximum possible damages

Max Touhey

The owners of the 5 Pointz site in Queens have followed up on their promise to file an appeal on a decision that awarded the 5 Pointz graffiti artists $6.7 million in damages. In February this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of the 21 artists who had filed a lawsuit against Gerald and David Wolkoff on the grounds that they had violated the Visual Arts Rights Act (VARA).

The federal judge awarded the artists the maximum damages that were possible under VARA and told the owners that they showed no remorse painting over the work of the graffiti artists. Shortly after the verdict, the Wolkoff brothers called the decision “ridiculous,” and announced their intention to appeal; and now that’s official, according to the Commercial Observer, which first reported on the news.

The developers’ appeal is going to rest on the fact that they feel graffiti is ephemeral in nature, and that graffiti artists frequently paint over each others’ work. Previously, a lawyer representing that artists had told the Commercial Observer that the developers’ appeal would most likely fail.

In the years since the artwork was whitewashed in 2013, the Wolkoff brothers have demolished the warehouse and are building a massive rental complex that will bring over 1,000 new apartments to the neighborhood.