Developer believes neighborhood group is responsible for vandalism
Group denies it was behind shattered windows at coffee shop
DEVELOPER ORI Feibush has no doubt that whoever shattered the windows of his Point Breeze coffee house Saturday morning was put up to it by the Point Breeze Organizing Committee.
"I'm 100 percent certain it is this group," Feibush said. "The idea that it's not is almost laughable."
But committee organizer Mindy Isser said the group had nothing to do with the vandalism. She said it was just "unfortunate and coincidental timing" that the vandal struck on the same day the committee held a march that was, in part, a protest against Feibush's development practices under his company, OCF Realty.
"We had no involvement . . . and we support a very thorough investigation," Isser said. "We know the truth will come out, and the truth will show that we are carrying on the nonviolent tradition of the civil-rights movement."
According to police, about 6 a.m. Saturday, a man wearing a mask, a gray hooded sweatshirt and gloves threw two large pieces of concrete through the front windows of Feibush's OCF Coffee House, at 20th and Federal streets. Nothing was taken, but the damage to the shop is estimated at $2,000, police said. Authorities have not identified a suspect in the vandalism, which was caught on surveillance cameras.
The vandal struck five hours before the start of the committee's March for Affordable Housing, Public Education, Jobs and Freedom, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The march, which ended near Feibush's coffee house, was also a protest against what the committee called OCF's "profits-before-people model of development."
Isser said the march was peaceful and attended by about 150 people. Feibush said police created a barrier that kept the protesters 50 to 100 feet away from his shop.
Tensions between Feibush, who is trying to develop the gentrifying Point Breeze neighborhood, and the committee, a neighborhood group committed to "affordable housing, public education and a people-first model for Point Breeze," have been running high.
Last week, the committee accused Feibush of trying to block their march and of impersonating one of their leaders online. Feibush denies both accusations.
He said that he's tried to extend an olive branch to the committee a dozen times, but that the responses he's received are so bizarre he believes they have no interest in meeting with him.
"The last thing was that in order to meet, I had to submit to them audited financials of my company," Feibush said.
Isser said she believes that Feibush is trying to paint the committee as a group of "crazed radicals" and make the fight personal.
"This is not about Ori Feibush. This is about OCF Realty," Isser said.