Artist-tenants at Williamsburg umbrella factory raise money to fight eviction

Owner Barnett Brickner is suing the artists for alleging blocking the $25M sale of the property

New York /
Apr.April 19, 2016 09:02 AM

Williamsburg artists living at the Embee Sunshade building are not singing in the rain — the tenants are raising money in an effort to pay for legal fees to fight off their eviction.

Owner Barnett Brickner is suing Daniel Fay and Melanie Paterson, married artists who run an arts organization Standard ToyKraft, and another tenant Jeremy Jacob Schlangen, claiming they are blocking the sale of the building at 722 Metropolitan Avenue.

In the lawsuit, the umbrella maker is seeking $25 million in damages, alleging that the property was in contract for that amount in late 2015 when the three tenants filed an application with the city’s Loft Board in order to establish the building as an Interim Multiple Dwelling. If the board granted them coverage from the city’s Loft Law, it would protect the artists’ rent-stabilized status and their tenancy, DNAinfo reported.

The artists told DNAinfo that they are raising the money for the estimated cost of $30,000 in legal fees to fight for their petition and eviction cases.

Brickner’s family has owned the building since 1940. Fay and Peterson’s company is “a 3,000 square foot art space dedicated to providing artists with low-cost studio and performance space,” according to a 2012 Indiegogo campaign website.

The contract had called for the building to be delivered empty and the couple’s lease that will expire this month was an exception, according to the lawsuit. [DNAinfo]Dusica Sue Malesevic


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