Boardwalk developer smothering free speech, Coney Island merchant claims

CONEY ISLAND - A Coney Island storeowner says she learned a tough lesson about the boardwalk redevelopment plan.

Dianna Carlin says developer Thor Equities evicted her from her shop, Lola Staar Souvenir Boutique, in January after she objected to a confidentiality clause in her lease. According to Carlin, Thor Equities had previously offered to renew the lease for one year until she spoke up.

The businesswoman claims the developer is offering other storeowners the same type of lease. Carlin believes Thor Equities is trying to prevent storeowners from speaking out against the project during the public comment period.

Thor Equities recently purchased businesses on the boardwalk and plans to build a resort-style destination with condominiums.

The developer declined to comment on the story.

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