Hot 97's landlords have had it. A week after rapper Jamal "Gravy" Woolard was shot outside the studios of the New York hip-hop station — the latest incident in a string of violence on its doorstep — the building's owner filed legal papers in New York on Tuesday demanding the radio station's eviction, according to an Associated Press report.
The building owner, the New York City District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, said in its filing that the action was based on its fears for the lives of other tenants of 395 Hudson Street or passers-by based on three shootings, two bomb threats and more than a dozen other incidents involving celebrity guests such as Busta Rhymes and 50 Cent since March 2000.
According to the AP, the building owners' suit accused the station of promoting violence. The suit gives the station 20 days to respond to the allegations in court, though an eviction proceeding would probably take several months.
The parent company of Hot 97 (WQHT-FM), Emmis Radio, issued a statement saying that the Council of Carpenters had no legal basis for eviction.
"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," the statement read. "The union has tried to bully us into submission and accomplish through harassment what they can't accomplish through the legal system."
The lawsuit cited "numerous extremely serious incidents, including multiple shootings and altercations with building security" that "threatened the lives of tenants and the public," according to the AP. It also included an August 2005 complaint from another building tenant, Thomson Financial, which said that "many of its employees have felt threatened and intimidated as a result of past incidents involving guests and persons associated with the radio station."
Gravy was shot in the buttocks outside the building last Wednesday, allegedly by a man who was upset that Woolard didn't let him sit in on a Hot 97 interview (see "New York Station Hot 97 May Be Evicted Over Hip-Hop Shootings"). In 2001, there was a shootout involving members of Lil' Kim and Capone-N-Noreaga's crews (see "Lil' Kim Present At Hot 97 Shootout, Police Say"), which left one man injured. Kim's bodyguard Suif Jackson was sentenced to 12 years in prison for firing his gun at least 20 times (see "Lil' Kim's Bodyguard Sentenced To 12 Years For His Role In Shootout"). Kim was found guilty of perjury after she told a jury that she was not present during the incident, and was sentenced to 366 days in prison (see "Lil' Kim Gets A Year And A Day In Prison").
In February 2005, Kevin Reed, a member of the Game's crew, was shot outside the Hot 97 lobby minutes after 50 Cent took to the airwaves to announce he was dropping the Compton rapper from his G-Unit stable (see "50 Drops Game From G-Unit; Shots Fired At Radio Station").
The shootings have led building owners to beef up security and crack down on the number of people accompanying artists into Hot 97's seventh-floor offices (currently only one person and a guest are allowed into the studio at a time). The station is also required to notify the New York Police Department four days ahead of any guest's appearance. As of Thursday, extra police officers were posted at 395 Hudson.
Last week, a source close to Hot 97 told MTV News, "There is no basis for eviction based on the lease. There have been incidents that occured seven floors down and on the street, and as such, Hot 97 has no fault in those shootings. The lease is a legal agreement, and there is nothing in the lease that gives them the legal power to evict us."