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Controversial Developer Partners With Animal Rescue Organization

 Celebrity Catwalk is hosting a series of fundraising events this weekend featuring animals and fashion.
Celebrity Catwalk is hosting a series of fundraising events this weekend featuring animals and fashion.
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Celebrity Catwalk

EAST VILLAGE — Controversial developer Icon Realty Management is showing its softer side this weekend by lending its properties to an animal rescue organization for a handful of pro-adoption and fundraising events.

Icon Realty — which was recently accused by tenants and local politicians of using “construction-as-harassment” tactics to push out rent-stabilized residents, as the Lo-Down first reported — will let Celebrity Catwalk use its property at 152 Second Ave. for the organization’s Paws in the City weekend May 20 to 22.

An organizer for Celebrity Catwalk, which recruits famous people to host fundraising fashion shows benefiting the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition, said Icon’s generosity is a light in the darkness of rampant animal homelessness. 

“At a time when benevolence is not easy to come by, it’s comforting to see Icon being so generous to our city’s homeless pets,” said Jennifer Bartok-Taylor, adding the organization has been partnering with Icon for four years.

The organization will host the “Paws for Pink” cancer-awareness event on May 20, a cocktail party offering cancer-screening tips from an on-site veterinarian.

Animal and fashion lovers are then invited to attend “Paws for PJ’s” on May 21 — a pajama and loungewear-themed party that will include a pet costume contest.

The weekend will culminate in a reception and pet fashion show at Copacabana in midtown. 

Past celebrity participants include Jamie Foxx, Nicole Richie and Heather Mills, according to Celebrity Catwalk’s website. 

A principal at Icon Realty said the group is thrilled to be contributing to the events.

"We are committed to giving back to the neighborhoods we are part of in as many different ways as we can and we are proud to do that here," said Terrence Lowenberg.

The events will occur as Icon’s reputation in the neighborhood stands on shaky ground, weeks after tenants of 445 E. Ninth St. and 57 Second Ave. took to the streets to protest the group’s alleged harassment tactics. A spokesman at the time told the Lo-Down that Icon was working diligently with tenants and advocacy groups to address complaints and improve service.