A “Grinch-esque” real estate developer looking to bulldoze part of a community garden for kids in Manhattan to build apartments once threatened to topple a port-a-potty on the sanctuary, a new lawsuit alleges.
Residents of Lower East Side have had a legal battle since 2014 to protect the decades-old Children’s Magical Garden – located on the corner of Norfolk and Stanton streets – of developer David Marom, who wants to build a residential building on some of the public green space.
In the latest salvo of lawsuits, the Garden’s leadership has filed a new civil rights lawsuit from the Manhattan Supreme Court to seek legal costs and punitive damages after Marom lost its $20 million defamation lawsuit against them in 2019 — of which they claim it was part of his nearly decade-long campaign to harass and intimidate them into withdrawing from their mission.
As part of this intimidation, Marom once threw an attack on parents and children in the garden – which is across the street from PS 20 primary school – kicking and pushing over benches before threatening to “turn a port-a-potty into Magic Garden.” for Children’, the file states.
Marom’s actions are “intended to interfere with the garden’s mission to provide children with a safe place to play and learn about nature and to help the community that speaks out against Marom’s Grinch-esque plan to destroy the garden.” destroy, intimidate and silence,” the court documents said. .
The gardeners say Marom placed intrusive fencing on adjacent lots — which the Parks department ordered him to take down, the lawsuit alleges.
He has also sent workers to the area to “destroy trees and dump construction waste,” and his workers “loaded dozens of containers filled with rotting waste” into the city oasis, the papers claim.
And Marom’s defamation allegations were further evidence of “his relentless campaign” against them “for simply repeating the claim Lower East Side residents have made for decades: this land is out of the garden,” the lawsuit alleges.
“Plaintiffs have limited resources and Marom knew he would never be able to recover the multimillion-dollar verdict he demanded,” the court documents say, noting that the case could only have been intended to harass and intimidate them.
After Marom’s claims were dismissed by a judge – and again by an appeals court in May – the gardeners asked him to apologize. But he refused and forced them to file these charges, the filing alleges.
Garden president and director Kate Temple-West told The Post: “The garden will never be affected by these scare tactics.
“But I was deeply hurt by community members – with young children – who were sued for millions,” she said of Marom’s claims to herself and others.
“We are a haven where people can find peace and children can safely create with their imaginations,” Temple-West said.
Marom’s attorney, Andrew Goldenberg, told The Post, “The plaintiff’s lawsuit is based on a fabricated story.
“Contrary to the allegations in the complaint, David Marom has not destroyed or dumped any trash on the garden property and offered to build a community center on the property for the public to enjoy and improve the garden.”
“Mr. Marom denies the allegations in the complaint and will vigorously defend himself against this frivolous lawsuit,” Goldenberg added.