Dear Fellow Citizens:
As you know, the National Register-listed Century Building in downtown St. Louis was recently demolished to make way for a parking garage. We thought this tragic demolition was the end of an ugly chapter in St. Louis’ history. Now, it’s gotten uglier.
Before the demolition, two Downtown residents, Marcia Behrendt and Roger Plackemeier, took principled action to try to save the Century Building. They were plaintiffs in two legal cases that sought to keep this historic building as part of our architectural heritage. 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, Marcia and Roger 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.
Marcia and Roger stood up for us and for our community. Now, it’s up to us to stand with them.
You can help in one of two ways:
— Write a check for any amount to help with legal costs. Make it payable to Downtown Defense Fund, and mail it to:
Downtown Defense Fund
c/o Scott Kluesner, Treasurer
7480 Cornell Avenue
St. Louis MO 63130
Funds received by the end of June are most important.
— Attend a free fundraiser on Saturday, June 25, 7:30 p.m. at Gallery Urbis Orbis, 419 N. Tenth Street. Bring cash or check in any amount to add to the pot, and enjoy music and good food and the company of people who care about our architectural heritage. No need to purchase tickets — but please do RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can plan refreshments.
Let’s show our support for preservation and for citizen action. Let’s show it big.
Fundraising Co-Chairs, Downtown Defense Fund
PS Note that 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.