Owners of Black Lady Theatre in Crown Heights fight to retain property

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Community members are standing behind a Crown Heights cultural institution that they claim was stolen from them.

The owners of the Black Lady Theatre rallied outside of Housing Court in Downtown Brooklyn Monday as they try to regain possession of their institution.

As News 12 has reported, the city marshal locked the doors of the Crown Heights theater and seized the property. The theater's leaders say its founder, Judge John Phillips Jr., entrusted them with the property before he died in 2008. City records don't show that paper trail.

The theater's owners grabbed a win last week when the court agreed to give them more time to gather their things, but they are trying to gain possession back or at least allow more time to pick up heirloom items like murals and antique movie projectors from inside.

MORE: Staff rallies to save The Black Lady Theatre 

The judge denied Hardy's requests. Omar Hardy says the whole process has been demeaning with lost paperwork and attorneys diminishing their history.

The theater offered live performances, film screenings and workshops, but advocates say lawyers on the other side of the fight dismissed it and called it a "flea market."

Omar and Clarence Hardy claim they were listed as tenants, and 750 Nostrand 123 LLC, an organization backed by Mendel Gold, was listed as the landlord in court documents.

Sources claim the three-story building was bought in a tax lien foreclosure auction in 2018. The Hardys are claiming deed fraud because they never had a landlord.

The fight will continue on, as the group plans to bring the case to a higher court. In the meantime, they are urging residents to contact local officials and raise money for legal fees.


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