'Unrepentant' Landlord Dishes $6.7M to Graffiti Artists for 'Mutilating' Art

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To compensate for the 2013 destruction of the legendary 5Pointz mural to build condominium units, NY real estate developer Gerald Wolkoff has been ordered to pay $6.7 million to 21 5Pointz graffiti artists.

Just a few months after a jury ruled that Jerry Wolkoff, the developer behind the 5 Pointz site, had illegally whitewashed the work of dozens of artists, the judge on the case has now settled on a compensation amount.

"If not for Wolkoff's insolence, these damages would not have been assessed", Block added.

Block said he hoped the award would give teeth to a federal law that should have kept Wolkoff from demolishing them for at least 10 months, when he had all his permits.

Wolkoff's attorneys had argued that the artists knew for some time that their work would be destroyed.

The artwork was located in an area called 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, Inc., more commonly referred to as simply 5 Pointz, a mural space in Long Island City, Queens.

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The artists' graffiti was painted over in 2013 and the buildings were demolished a year later.

The ruling considers that a total of 45 of the works made on the walls of the building were worthy of being preserved from any negligent act by the Law of Rights of the Visual Artists of 1990, and condemns the owner to the greater indemnity provided.

Before they vanished, the graffiti artworks became a tourist attraction, drawing thousands of spectators daily and forming a backdrop to the 2013 movie, "Now You See Me", and a site for an Usher tour, the judge noted.

"It would have been a wonderful tribute for the artists that they richly deserved", Mr. Block wrote. The artists expressed their desire buy the properties - until their value surged to over $200 million.

"Wolkoff has been singularly unrepentant. He was given multiple opportunities to admit the whitewashing [which took place the year before the buildings came down] was a mistake, show remorse, or suggest he would do things differently if he had another chance". "But Wolkoff could not care less".

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