A coalition of taggers is suing the owner of the world-famous NYC graffiti spot, 5Pointz, for whitewashing their artwork without notice, according to reports.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, the graffiti artists seek unspecified cash damages from Jerry Wolkoff. They say the developer broke the law when he covered up their work because it was protected under the U.S. Visual Artists Rights Acts, the Daily News reported.
The battle over the Long Island City buildings, known collectively as 5Pointz, has been raging for years now. Members of the 5Pointz nonprofit sued Wolkoff back in 2013 in an attempt to stop the buildings from being torn down to make way for new development in the neighborhood.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederic Block ruled against the artists, but said Wolkoff may owe them damages if their work was deemed protected. Famous works like Lady Pink's "Green Mother Earth" may have qualified for this "recognized stature," Block said.
The 5Pointz buildings were ultimately torn down last summer, but by that point the vibrant graffiti on them, which could be seen from No. 7 trains, was whitewashed over.
“This case is not only brought on behalf of plaintiffs, but it sends a message to everyone that the unlawful destruction of artwork will not be tolerated. If anyone violates federal law under the Visual Rights Act, they must be held accountable,” the artists' attorney, Eric Baum of Eisenberg & Baum, told the Daily News.
Wolkoff first allowed visual artists to use the rundown property back in 1993. By the 2000s it had become "the world's premiere graffiti Mecca," according to the 5Pointz website.