Nobody seems to be buying Patti Smith's explanation of her involvement with the Chetrit's, and in truth, it does seem kind of evasive, like a non-answer cooked up by PR flacks. She doesn't really seem to address any of the issues we raised in any substantive manner. (She has no understanding of Landmarking issues, while on the other hand she seems ready to make a bogus legal judgment on who the rightful tenants are.) Besides, if she is not getting paid, that just raises the issue of what exactly she is getting out of it. Sorry Patti, but we don't quite buy the line that you are doing it out of the goodness of your own heart. And if she just wants to provide a nice evening for tenants, why did she have a separate event last night for friends and family of the developer? Yes, that's right, she entertained in the Chelsea Hotel ballroom last night at a totally separate event! (See Photo)
Historian Sherill Tippins has some interesting insight into the issue (exceprts from Sherill's Facebook comments around the concert): "Ed Scheetz, one of the co-owners of the hotel, fell in love with "Just Kids" and contacted her. I think she's telling the truth when she says she wasn't compensated. She doesn't need the money. And when they pitched me, they didn't offer anything and I didn't ask for anything. It was supposedly all about love for the Chelsea. (I swear, I figured out the scam pretty quickly!) With careful guidance from my Chelsea Hotel friends. I think her motive was good, as mine was: The Chelsea was sold, that was a fact. Tragically, the Bards no longer controlled it. But now there was this guy, one among the owners, who had caught a whiff of the magic of the place and wanted to preserve it. The problem is, he's not in charge. When I realized that they couldn't even SEE the current residents in the landscape of their plans, I knew that they didn't get it and that they would create havoc, fail, and eventually leave."
There has been worldwide interest in this issue, and we'd like to thank all of the bloggers and journalists who have written about Patti Smith and the Chelsea Hotel situation for their support. Oddly enough, none of them seem to be buying Patti's belated explanation for what appears to be a self-serving action. Here is a list of links to some of the coverage: