Detroit – — Reports that Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services put surveillance equipment on a downtown building without the owner’s permission are false, Bedrock officials said. The blogger behind the original report defended his story.
“Nothing can be further than the truth; we don’t do that,” said James Ketai, CEO and co-founder of Detroit’s Bedrock Real Estate, on Monday. Ketai was responding to reports that Grace Keros, owner of the American Coney Island downtown, demanded Bedrock remove a transmitter on a building owned by Keros because it was installed without her permission. She also wanted a security camera removed.
The initial report of that confrontation came from the blog Motor City Muckraker written by Steve Neavling. Gilbert made clear his disdain by describing the blogger as “dirty scum” in a tweet. Neavling insisted his story was correct.
The camera and transmitter were installed by the former Compuware Corp., not Bedrock, Ketai said. Bedrock removed the camera and transmitter at Keros’ request because of work being performed on the building. Neavling acknowledged in a Detroit News interview that the camera was installed by Compuware, but he says Keros told him that the camera was being used by Bedrock without her knowledge. Bedrock officials said Monday they were not sure if the camera was being used as part of their security system.
“She’s been very supportive of our efforts in the past,” Ketai said. Telephone messages were left for Keros at several locations but were not returned Monday. A worker at American Coney Island, 114 W. Lafayette, said Keros was no longer commenting on the story, nor was anyone from the business willing to talk to the media.
The camera wasn’t on the American Coney Island, but another building owned by Keros that houses the Bath Tub Pub, located in the same block on Lafayette. The camera overlooked the Lafayette Green Community Garden.
Bedrock Real Estate Services controls more the 70 downtown properties, and it does have a multi-million dollar security operation that includes private security workers and surveillance cameras on various buildings. A high-tech command room has been set up in the Chase Tower, a building owned by Bedrock.
Ketai and other Bedrock officials said it is not true that Bedrock puts security cameras on buildings without owners’ permission. The blogger Neavling says he has talked to downtown building owners who have had cameras installed on their properties without their knowledge.
Bedrock also denied reports that it installed surveillance cameras to monitor the newsrooms of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, both of which are housed in a Bedrock-owned building.
There are cameras in the entrance hallways of the newsrooms and another that monitors the IT computer equipment, but there are no cameras that watch the main part of the newsrooms. The cameras were installed at the request of Michigan.com, which manages the business operations of the two newspapers.
“The cameras in our facilities are there to deter theft and intrusion,” said Alan Lenhoff, Director/Project Management for Michigan.com. “They are all pointed at entrances to our facilities and locations in which valuable items are stored. None of them have any view of any employee work areas.”