Reports of the mural being removed first came about last month.
In a report from the New York Times, members of the community have had heated discussions over the allegation that Danny Branover, the head of Basil Hospitality Group (which owns the restaurant called Meat that’s across the street from the mural) wanted to remove the Sean Price tribute.
Per the Times:
On July 23, New York State Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson and Rabbi Yaacov Behrman, a Chabad-Hasidic community liaison, organized a meeting for community members and local politicians at Meat, the kosher steakhouse in the middle of the controversy.
TENSIONS WERE HIGH at the July 23 meeting. As the politicians in the room scrambled to referee comments, a cacophony of grievances, finger-pointing and accusations brought the meeting “from zero to one hundred,” [New York City Councilman Robert E. Cornegy] said.
Morenike Lambert, who works for a charter school network that supports low-income students, accused Mr. Branover of only inviting one “type of person” to Meat: “white people, Jewish people like you.” Mr. Branover refuted the accusation until New York State assemblywoman Tremaine S. Wright intervened to refocus the conversation on the mural.
Voices continued to be raised and fingers continued to wag and point for about an hour. But suddenly, community council president James Caldwell interrupted the heated discussions to say there had been a major misunderstanding.
The report then goes on to note how it was the owner of the building where the mural resides, and not Branover, who wanted to whitewash the wall. The owner, Apolinar Severino, said he was advised to remove the mural by a real estate agent while trying to refinance his mortgage on the property.
Now, Severino is unsure about removing the mural, telling the Times, “I didn’t know it was going to be a big thing.”
For now, the mural is safe. It was erected in 2015 following Price’s death. He passed away at the age of 43 in his sleep.
Source: New York Times