New York's Hot 97 has always prided itself in being home to all things "blazin'," but it looks like things have finally gotten too hot for the radio station's landlord.
On Thursday, the New York City District Council of Carpenters Pension Fund, the organization that owns the building at 395 Hudson St., announced that it had directed its attorneys to begin the eviction process against the radio station, telling the New York Daily News that it was "concerned about the safety of the public and of our other tenants."
A spokesperson for the council had no further comment on the eviction, but said a press conference would be held next week.
Hot 97's studios are on the seventh floor of 395 Hudson, and other tenants in the building include the Foundation Press, which publishes legal casebooks, and Thomson Tax and Accounting.
In recent years, the building has played host to a series of hip-hop-related shootings, including a 2001 incident 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 and saw Kim's bodyguard Suif Jackson 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").
And on Wednesday, a rapper named Jamal "Gravy" Woolard was shot in the buttocks outside the building, allegedly by a man who was upset that Woolard did not let him sit in on a Hot 97 interview.
The shootings have forced the owners of the building to beef up security and crack down on the amount of people accompanying artists into Hot 97 (currently only one person and a guest are allowed into the studio at a time). The station is also required to notify the NYPD four days ahead of any guest's appearance, and as of Thursday, extra police officers were posted at 395 Hudson.
According to a source close to Hot 97, the station has had several discussions with the pension fund council about security issues, but first heard about the possibility of eviction in Friday morning's newspaper.
"There is no basis for eviction based on the lease," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. "There have been incidents that occurred 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."