Sunday, April 27, 2008

This guy's got a problem

Fred Radtke, aka "the gray ghost". Who does he have in his pocket?
From New Orleans City Business Website

On April 19 a customer walked into Mojo Coffee House on Magazine Street and told employee Alicia Adams there was a strange man outside painting the side of the building.

Adams stepped outside and saw a white van parked across the street with several men standing in front of it staring at her. She looked to her left and that’s when she saw him, a tall, stocky man wearing dark sunglasses.

Adams recognized the man immediately. It was Fred Radtke, the self-appointed scourge of graffiti.

Adams said Radtke didn’t pay any attention to her. He walked across the street, grabbed another roller out of his van, walked back across the street and began to paint over markings on a telephone pole.

Adams, 24, said she asked Radtke to “please don’t paint on our private property.” His response has left her shaken and afraid for her own safety.

Adams said Radtke verbally attacked her with the most offensive of obscenities, letting her know that he could care less what she thought and was going to do whatever he wanted.

“I swear to God, I’ve been doing this for 10 years and in that time I’ve never cursed at a woman or a girl,” Radtke said. “She was the one yelling and screaming at me. ”

Radtke said he has never painted the Mojo building because the coffee house staff, who he accuses of being sympathetic to the graffiti artists, constantly harass him.

“Usually when I go to take out graffiti near that coffee shop I bring a police escort so I don’t get intimidated,” Radtke said. “If I’m taking out graffiti across the street, they walk over to us and start taking my picture. They do it all the time, which is why I need police escorts. ”
“He was yelling and screaming. He said that he never touched our building and that the 'little bitch' was lying.”

But when Estevez arrived at Mojo on April 19 just an hour after Radtke left, he said there was a large splotch of gray paint on the side of the building that had never been there before.

“I could still smell the primer paint.”

This person has a serious self image issue. He sees himself as the saviour of New Orleans' grafitti problem.

He has to have something on someone in New Orleans politics.

Mayor C. Ray Nagin, New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Warren Riley, the Louisiana State Police, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have praised his work.

But some property owners question what separates Radtke from the vandals he is fighting.

The NOPD, however, has no intention of charging Radtke with the defacing of public or private property and praises his efforts in reducing crime and improving the city’s quality of life.

“What he’s doing is work that the city would be doing itself provided we had the resources and manpower,” said NOPD spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse. “He’s covering up graffiti and if the city had a team to do that it would do so. He’s not doing anything that we aren’t asking him to do.”•

More at


dloye said...

Now I'm confused. You think that a man who has become an unpaid volunteer basically, needs to be berated for painting over graffiti? Yes he seems to have a difference of opinion with the folks at Mojo, but someone is showing their ignorance if there is some belief that graffiti is some free spirited art form. Some of it may be, but New Orleans has enough problems without letting gang marks linger.

Michael Dingler said...

Mojo is my neighborhood coffee shop and it's no secret I can be found there on any given evening. So, having become acquainted with the owner and the barrista in the article, I feel like I can safely report what was told to me.

The owner has stated to me that the area that was covered up had been a close approximation to color matching that the owner of the building had hired someone to do. Thus, the spot in question that was painted was the first example of the owner taking care of his own building, but not good enough to the liking of Mr. Radtke.

According to Demian, oner of Mojo, Mr. Radtke later stated on the phone that he did not paint grey primer on his building, though Demian could see that it was clearly fresh when he arrived ten minutes after the incident in question. Mr. Radtke also stated on the phone to Demian that he had cleared graffiti off his window and didn't put any paint on the building whatsoever. If that is the case, why did 9 witnesses see him with a paint roller. And, if that is also the case, why hasn't the spot where he purported cleaning the graffiti have a clean spot on the window? Is he so good that he can remove the graffiti and leave the dust/dirt that has settled on the window. Must be a helluva solvent.

Also, the most shocking thing that allegedly occurred was his flagrant use of misogynistic language toward a young woman working at the coffee shop. City Business wouldn't be reporting the details of what he said, but as told directly to me by Alicia of Mojo, he said directly, "F*** You, you stupid B****!"

Now, if you're out doing good things for the community as an unpaid volunteer (and oh, he pays himself quite handsomely you can rest assured I'd know), then why would you be lying and acting in such a manner. All of these stories that keep coming in about his supposedly erratic behavior. I everyone in this city a liar BUT Fred Radtke?

So, no graffiti on the building at Mojo...what does that equal? Hmmm... Or maybe the owner of Mojo, Alicia and the 9 witnesses were all lying too. Perhaps they are all gang members hiding some secret club...damn coffee drinkers! I bet the even serve Free Trade coffee! If you don't want to take my word for what happened, feel free to go by Mojo yourself and ask them...

Michael Dingler said...