News & Politics

Madison Ave. Business Sues Cuomo, De Blasio for Riots, Estimates $100M in Damages

Andrew Cuomo (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

On May 29, George Floyd protests in New York City devolved into looting, riots, and arson. Between May 29 and June 9, looters and rioters damaged more than 450 businesses. During that lawless destruction, the NYPD union president blamed Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) for publicly attacking police and for not sending reinforcements to restore order. Now, at least one business is filing a lawsuit to hold them accountable.

Domus Design Center (DDC) on 134 Madison Ave has filed a lawsuit claiming that Cuomo, de Blasio, the NYPD, and others failed to do their jobs to protect the people of New York from lawless looters and rioters, The New York Post reported. Sal Strazzullo, the lawyer who represents DDC, predicts the case will become a class-action and the damages will reach $100 million.

“Cuomo should have worried about hospital reform instead of bail reform. Getting a free pass, some criminals were not able to be detained pending trial and now we have looters. Who’d have imagined we’d have to board up our stores? We’re not in Afghanistan. Places like Saks Fifth, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rolex being bombed out?” Strazzullo told the Post.

“Where are our tax dollars going?” the lawyer asked. “Rocks, bricks thrown? Glass smashed? Merchandise stolen? Thrown out? People hurt? Millions lost? Businesses destroyed? Lives crushed? Not protecting commercial properties is negligence of duty. It’s looters against New York City and state.”

“Paying taxes that help pay the salary of the NYPD, we expect protection in return,” Strazzullo insisted. “Where was the city? The state? Officials failing to protect their residents? Government is responsible to protect its citizens and businesses against criminals who want to do bad.”

This lawsuit isn’t just about the money — it’s about the principle of the thing. “Not every lawsuit is for money. This type of suit — about the city’s acts and omissions in failing to control or otherwise restrain violent protesters, which caused destruction to claimant’s retail store — is for a point,” the lawyer said. “This will be a class-action lawsuit. Costly. Because the others will come on board.”

Last month, sixteen residents and businesses in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle sued the city for violating their rights by supporting the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) Occupied Protest (CHOP). The case against Seattle over CHOP may be stronger than the case against Cuomo and de Blasio, but both involve the same principle. When governments fail to uphold the rights of their citizens and allow lawless rioters to destroy people’s livelihoods and endanger their lives, those governments need to be held accountable.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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