Judge Orders Property Owner Pay $6.7M To Graffiti Artists

The property owner was unrepentant for destroying the graffiti on his building, so the judge ordered him to pay.

Queens, NY - A judge has ordered a property owner to pay $6.7 million to graffiti artists who tagged his building because he showed no remorse for destroying their work when he tore down the building he owned.

Federal Judge Frederic Block made the decision on Monday that property owner Jerry Wolkoff should have been remorseful for destroying his own property, according to PIX11.

The site known as 5Pointz involved an abandoned warehouse building that graffiti artists had been painting on for years.

Billed as the “world’s largest collection of quality outdoor aerosol art,” the graffiti artists set up a system for determining what art was temporary, and what art remained permanent.

Wolkoff said that he had initially allowed the graffiti artists to paint on the abandoned building, but in 2013 he painted over the graffiti, and then he tore the building down a year later to make way for luxury condos.

The graffiti artists sued, citing the federal Visual Artists Rights Act, which grants artists rights to their work even when somebody else owns it.

The obscure federal law requires property owners to obtain written consent from artists before destroying their artwork.

Wolkoff could have avoided the written consent by waiting almost a year for a federal permit and allowing artists time to first remove their work.

However, the property owner was entirely without remorse for destroying his own property.

“Wolkoff has been singularly unrepentant. He was given multiple opportunities to admit the whitewashing was a mistake, show remorse, or suggest he would do things differently if he had another chance,” Judge Block said while awarding Wolkoff to pay $6.7 million, according to PIX11. “Wolkoff could care less. As he callously testified."

In my opinion, he should be allowed to paint over or demolish the building, it is HIS property. This judge is wrong!! Appeal!!


Refuse to pay, there is a difference between art and graffiti and it doesn't become art just because you say, "yeah, you can paint on this building that I own because we're going to knock it down anyway" Urine does not become art because you put it in a jar with a cross rather than flush it.

This will be overturned on appeal.
Also, another Federal Law which needs to be repealed.

This is B.S. I don’t care if he gave them permission or not. If he owns the property he can do whatever he wants. The “artist “ wasn’t paying him rent or anything. He was being nice to let them do what they wanted for a while. If the guy wants to tear down his own building then he ask jo shmo if he can do it. If this stands then he ought to charge them back rent of 6.7 mill.

Rofl. This judge will be easily overturned.....even in the cesspool know as ny.

Allowing someone to paint in a building vs giving them permission are not necessary the same.

You can own the building and see graffiti on and simply choose not to do anything about it, either cause you don’t care, the cost to stop it may not be worth it, or you figure they are going to paint it regardless of what measures you take. That can be considered allowed.

Reaching to the owner and asking if it’s okay to paint the property and getting consent to, is permission.

So article said he allowed it, not that he consent to it. Big difference, for that individual that keeps stating people need to read the article. Maybe he should read it and realize there is a difference. Just saying!

So if I tag your body and declare it to be art, can I sue you if you take a shower?


judges have become a nuisance and power hungry out of control

American justice has gone CRAZY Sue for writing Crap On a Building that was not theirs NOR were they ASKED TO DO IT!!!STUPIDLY

SO that means it's OK to paint illegal graffiti all over someone else's property? Then when it gets erased, I can sue them for my 'artwork"? Absolutely disgusting that this idiot judge would award money to people who vandalized this man's building. I thought graffiti was illegal.