Hot 97 faces eviction after latest shooting
By Albert Amateau
Another shooting outside 395 Hudson St. where the radio station Hot 97 FM has its studio this one at 9 p.m. Wed., April 26 when the hip hop performer Jamal (Gravy) Woolard took a bullet in the butt prompted the District Council of Carpenters, Benefit Fund, owner of the building, to begin eviction proceedings against the station on May 2.
The unions lawsuit in State Supreme Court cites three shootings in the past five years, two bogus bomb threats and 53 other different acts of violence in front of the building between W. Houston and Clarkson Sts.
The recent shooting was attributed to a hanger-on upset because Gravy would not let him sit in on a studio interview. Gravy gave the interview, presumably while standing up, right after the incident. There was no arrest, but two days later, police installed a surveillance camera across the street from the building.
Brian ODwyer, lawyer for the Carpenters, said the union benefit fund had spent nearly $1 million on security, including four security guards and a security control desk in the lobby, in response to violence attributed to Hot 97 events.
The lawsuit seeks also to force the station to hold its interviews with hip hop performers at some other location even before the eviction case is decided.
They were warned in the past about the unacceptable and unsafe behavior generated by their ill-conceived insistence on bringing dangerous people to the building, ODwyer said.
Emmis Broadcasting, which operates 98.7 Kiss FM and CD 101.9 FM in addition to Hot 97, has a lease on the seventh floor of the building that expires in 2012. The lawsuit also seeks to evict the two sister stations.
Emmis officials, responding in a prepared statement, said there was no legal basis for the suit and promised to fight it.
Perhaps a better use of their time and their members money would be to sit down with us and the N.Y.P.D. and work out a security plan that will protect the people who work and live in and around the building, the statement said.
Emmis also said that two of its employees had asked the buildings security guards to remove loiterers from in front of the building more than an hour before the April 26 shooting. If they had simply called police at that point this frightening situation may have been avoided, the statement says.
In February 2005 a dispute between the rapper 50 Cent and his protégé, The Game, erupted in gunfire outside the building where a member of The Games posse was injured.
In September 2002, Hot 97 deejay Funkmaster Flex was accused of assaulting Big Steph Love, deejay for Power 105 FM, outside 395 Hudson. Flex later pleaded guilty to harassment.
In February 2001, a feud between Lil Kim and Foxy Browns Capone-N-Noriega crew, ended in gunplay outside the building where a Noriega follower was injured. Kim was giving an interview at the time of the shooting but she is currently serving time in a federal prison for lying to a grand jury about the incident.
In January 2005 the station provoked a furor when it broadcast a song whose lyrics satirized and mocked victims of the South Asian tsunami.
A false bomb threat was made in February 2005 and the building was evacuated in August 2000 when a suspicious package was found on the floor below the broadcast studios.