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Century Building Downtown Events

Fundraising Effort Announced to Defend Downtown Residents Sued by City, State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2005

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI — The National Register-listed Century Building in downtown St. Louis was recently demolished to make way for a parking garage — but that didn’t end the contentious battle between downtown residents, who sought to save the building, and the developers and government officials who wanted it demolished.

“We thought this tragic demolition was the end of an ugly chapter in St. Louis’ history,” said Margie Newman, one of the organizers of the Downtown Defense Fund. “Now, it’s gotten uglier.”

Before the demolition, two Downtown residents, Marcia Behrendt and Roger Plackemeier, were plaintiffs in two legal cases that sought to keep the historic building standing. But the buildings came down anyway. Now, the City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri and the project developers have filed a lawsuit against them, alleging malicious prosecution — and seeking actual damages exceeding $1.5 million, plus punitive damages “in an amount sufficient to deter said defendants and others from like conduct.”

Should the City, State and developers prevail, Behrendt and Plackemeier could lose all of their assets. Just to defend themselves will cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs, even if lawyers donate some services.

The Downtown Defense Fund, formed by neighbors and fellow citizens, is asking for help in raising funds to help cover those legal costs. Those wishing to donate to the Downtown Defense Fund can write a check for any amount to help with legal costs.

Checks should be payable to Downtown Defense Fund, and sent to:

Downtown Defense Fund
c/o Scott Kluesner, Treasurer
7480 Cornell Avenue
St. Louis MO 63130

Or, donations can be made through PayPal at www.downtowndefensefund.com.

Donations are not tax-deductible. Should the lawsuit be resolved before the money raised is spent, remaining funds will be donated to a group or groups dedicated to architectural preservation, Newman said.

The group is also hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. at Gallery Urbis Orbis, 419 N. Tenth Street. Admission is free, but those planning to attend are asked to RSVP to mmnewman@earthlink.net. Attendees are asked to bring cash or check in any amount for the Downtown Defense Fund.

“Marcia and Roger stood up for us and for our community. Now, it’s up to us to stand with them,” Newman said.

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For more information, contact Margie Newman at 314-241-4950.

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