Children’s Magical Garden Files Lawsuit Against Developer Over Alleged Intimidation Tactics

Posted on: November 24th, 2021 at 5:01 am by

Photo: Children’s Magical Garden

The Children’s Magical Garden on Stanton Street is again battling its longtime nemesis, owner-developer of the neighboring parcel, The Horizon Group.

Garden advocates led by Kate Temple-West filed a civil rights lawsuit Monday in New York State Supreme Court alleging that principal David Marom, who purchased the adjacent lot from Serge Hoyda in 2013, engaged in intimidation against its members in an apparent attempt to silence opposition to redevelopment.

You’ll recall that both sides have been locked in a legal tussle for the better part of a decade. It was two years ago that garden leadership filed a $5 million lawsuit alleging that Horizon intentionally dumped garbage there as a bullying tactic. Private residents who spoke in support of Children’s Magical Garden were allegedly targeted, according to a fresh lawsuit filed Monday. In it, claimants note that Marom brought multimillion-dollar defamation actions against organizers, including a $20 million suit toward early childhood educator Tiffany de Bruyn, court records show.

Sep. 2019, Photo: Children’s Magical Garden

Yet, the aforementioned defamation suit was subsequently dismissed under the state’s anti-SLAPP law prohibiting lawsuits that burden critics with exorbitant legal fees, court records show.

The acrimony runs deep. Marom has been persistent in his quest to redevelop the Garden site into a seven-story luxury building. The community fought back initial plans. Advocates continue to maintain ownership of a contested parcel through adverse possession, and scored an appellate court victory in 2018 that strengthens their argument.

The gardeners orchestrated a press conference in the decades-old community garden yesterday morning to discuss this latest suit.

“If you try to intimidate, harass, or harm our community, especially the children in our community, there will be consequences,” the gardeners wrote on the Facebook event invite.

“This lawsuit on behalf of the garden … will make any developer think again about trying blatant intimidation tactics against our community.”

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