NEW YORK – An antiques dealer sued four homeless people, seeking to keep them away from his store on a posh shopping street because, he says, they alienate customers and block window displays.
Store owner Karl Kemp also seeks $1 million from the four, named in the lawsuit as John Doe, Bob Doe, John Smith and Jane Doe.
The suit, filed this week, says they can often be found sleeping on the sidewalk, drinking alcoholic beverages and "performing various bodily functions such as urinating and spitting" outside Karl Kemp & Associates on Manhattan's Madison Avenue. Kemp seeks to keep them 100 feet from the store.
Kemp said he decided to sue after complaints to police brought no changes. He also said he was concerned about the health of one of the three men.
"You and I pay taxes in New York City, and some of that is to maintain decent shelters. And he should take advantage of that," Kemp said.
Advocates for the homeless called the lawsuit hardhearted.
"Until we see to it that every single homeless individual has a place to stay, this is our reality," said Shelly Nortz, a deputy executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless.
"The complaint that they somehow occasionally occupy a space that is also home to Gucci and Chanel doesn't mean that they're breaking any law," she said.