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Posted under: News Trending

Developer Ordered To Pay $6.7M For Destroying NYC Street Art Mecca 5Pointz

Jerry Wolkoff violated the Visual Artists Rights Act and now has to pay up.

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The historic Queens, New York graffiti and street house warehouse 5Pointz was destroyed back in 2014. A few months ago, a jury found real estate developer Jerry Wolkoff guilty for violating the Visual Artists Rights Act (V.A.R.A.), when he erased the 45 art pieces painted on the building. 

5Pointz, Photo: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr
5Pointz, Photo: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr

Now, Wolkoff is receiving his punishment. According to the New York Post, Wolkoff has been fined a whopping $6.7 million. 

Photo: GIPHY
Photo: GIPHY

Brooklyn federal court judge Frederic Block handed down the judgment on Monday. 

“The shame of it all is that since 5Pointz was a prominent tourist attraction, the public would undoubtedly have thronged to say its goodbyes during those 10 months and gaze at the formidable works of aerosol art for the last time,” wrote Block. “It would have been a wonderful tribute for the artists that they richly deserved.”

5Pointz after and before being painted over, Photo: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr
5Pointz after and before being painted over, Photo: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr

Block noted that Wolkoff shouldn't have made such a rash decision, a decision ultimately found to have violated a 1990 law that protects notable works of public art. 

“If not for Wolkoff’s insolence, these damages would not have been assessed,” Block noted. “If he did not destroy 5Pointz until he received his permits and demolished it 10 months later, the Court would not have found that he had acted willfully.”

Block also commended the artists for carrying themselves “with dignity” during the case. 

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Tonja Renée Stidhum is a writer/director made of sugar and spice and everything rice. She has the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.