December 14, 2005

Bird Activist Sues Residents of New York Building

By Jeanne King

NEW YORK -- An advocate for New York's famed red-tail hawks Pale Male and Lola, who live atop a posh Fifth Avenue building, is suing members of the building's co-op board claiming they caused him to be falsely arrested, according to court papers made public on Tuesday.

The lawsuit by Lincoln Karim seeks $1 million in damages from CNN news anchor Paula Zahn, who lives in the building, and her husband, who heads the building's board of directors.

Karim, 44, was arrested during an uproar last winter over the two hawks when they were evicted from their longtime nest by building workers.

The nest was removed after residents complained that the birds deposited droppings and pigeon carcasses in the elegant building's entrance.

Following wide media attention, a nest was restored for the hawks on the building overlooking Central Park.

Karim runs the Web site and was active in the battle to have the nest restored.

In the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Karim, a video engineer, said Zahn and coop President Richard Cohen "maliciously, purposefully, and intentionally" caused him to be arrested and put in jail.

He also said they defamed him by making "misrepresentations to New York City Police officers." The documents gave no further detail.

According to a criminal complaint filed last year, Karim allegedly chased Zahn's 7-year-old son and screamed: "House of shame! Bring back the nest!"

Zahn pressed charges and Karim was arrested on harassment charges. He later was released and ordered to stay away from the family, and he apologized for screaming at the child.