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ACTIVISTS BUGGED BY CITY AUCTION
By HENRI E. CAUVIN
DAILY NEWS on July 21, New York 1998
Police Headquarters was jumping yesterday after activists unleashed a field's worth of crickets during a land auction.
Angry over the city's sale of community spaces, an ad hoc group calling itself Jiminy Cricket launched the insect invasion about 11 a.m. in the 1 Police Plaza auditorium where prospective buyers were bidding on properties the city no longer wants.
With their stunt, the activists -- five of whom were arrested -- succeeded in disrupting the auction for more than a half-hour.
As the crickets hopped about, hundreds of onlookers scrambled to avoid the swarms.
"We're hoping he gets the idea and his nose stops growing," Wendy Madison, a spokeswoman for the group, said of Mayor Giuliani. She was referring to Jiminy Cricket, which acted as the conscience of Pinocchio in the famous children's story.
Ten people left a larger group protesting outside Police Headquarters and carried the insects in manila envelopes with mesh airholes, Madison said. The arrested activists were Timothy Becker, 39; Dennis Griggs, 52; Francine Luck, 55; Clayton Patterson, 49, and Jason Spiegel.
They were charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.
Griggs was also charged with resisting arrest, and Patterson was charged with resisting arrest, assault and trespassing.
Patrick Muldowney, a spokesman for the city agency that runs the auctions, said yesterday's sale was the most successful ever.
He said any land that had been used for community purposes will continue to serve that function.
"It could be a day care center. It could be an elderly center, but it has to be a community use," Muldowney said.
The Mighty Email Army is a direct action-oriented list of community garden supporters and their allies, sponsored by the Lower East Side Collective (212-774-4192; http://home.earthlink.net/~aliceme/lesc).