Emmis Radio, the parent company of New York’s Hot 97 (WQHT) FM, went to court Friday (May 5) in attempts to block the station’s eviction.
Emmis filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York City District Council of Carpenters Fund, the landlord of the building that houses the radio station.
The 28-page lawsuit references three shootings, two bomb threats and more than a dozen other incidents involving a host of rap celebrities visiting to the station’s offices since March 2000.
The latest incident at the station occurred on April 26, when rapper Jamal “Gravy” Woolard was shot in the buttocks before conducting an interview at the station with on air personality
Emmis believes the suit has no legal basis.
“If the carpenters union wants to spend money dragging this issue through the courts, then we have no choice but to fight them on it and we will win,” Emmis said in a statement. “The union has tried to bully us into submission and accomplish through harassment what they can’t accomplish through the legal system.”
Although Hot 97 has six years left on its lease, the lawsuit is demanding the eviction of the station, which is located on the seventh floor of the building.
The New York City District Council of
Carpenters Fund accuses Hot 97 of promoting the
recent violence and expressed its fear for the lives of the building’s other tenants and passers-by.
Court papers, filed in Manhattan’s Supreme Court, said that fund officials have told Emmis that Hot 97 will not be allowed to have any visitors in the building, except artists, within seven days notice while the eviction is pending.
Emmis owns two other radio stations in the building, 98.7 Kiss FM, which plays R&B, and Smooth Jazz CD 101.9, which plays jazz music.
The fund is has said it would allow these stations an “artist plus two” within four days notice.
While Emmis says it has basic rights under the lease to receive visitors, the pension fund’s lawyer, Robert Abrahams, said “the restrictions on visitors that they are complaining about, they agreed to them in writing.”
Regarding Emmis’ lawsuit against the pension fund, Abrahams said, “this is an attempt to avoid meeting that case head-on.”