Richard Gere has found himself the object of ire for many wealthy upstate New York neighbors over an impending cell phone tower.
The 73-year-old actor – who was filming his new movie Longing back in October – is co-owner of the Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, New York, an eight-room luxury inn that opened in 2019.
Gere has offered a parcel of land on his 14-acre estate to install a 130-foot cell phone tower. But many wealthy nearby residents – including the parents of Kate Mara and Rooney Mara, and Jerry Seinfeld’s sister – are furious about the move, according to Page Six.
Richard Gere has found himself the object of ire for many wealthy upstate New York neighbors over an impending cell phone tower
The 73-year-old actor is co-owner of the Bedford Post Inn in upscale Bedford, New York (pictured) – an eight-room luxury inn that opened in 2019
Verizon filed a lawsuit against the town of Bedford in July 2021, after it shot down two proposed sites for the cell tower, which would fill gaps in coverage for cell phone service and emergency responders, as mandated by the Federal Telecommunications Act.
Now the lawsuit has been put on pause, as Gere’s proposal to put the cell tower on the land his inn sits on is under review.
However, Carolyn Liebling – the sister of Jerry Seinfeld, who also manages her brother’s career – is seeking a ‘pre-motion conference with a Southern District of New York judge’ to stop the tower from happening.
‘[T]he decision you make will affect the life of our family if you put the cell tower practically in our backyard,’ Liebling and her husband Larry wrote in a December email to the planning board.
The couple have owned 12 acres near the hotel for the past 17 years, and say their ‘sanctuary’ is no place for a cell tower.
Gere has offered a parcel of land on his 14-acre estate to install a 130-foot cell phone tower, but many nearby, well-off residents – such as the parents of Rooney and Kate Mara, and Jerry Seinfeld’s sister – are furious, arguing the structure would be an eyesore
Lawsuit: Verizon filed a lawsuit against the town of Bedford in July 2021 after the shooting down of two proposed sites for the cell tower. Gere, pictured here in August with wife Alejandra Silva, seeks to settle the suit by allowing the looming structure to be built on his land
Others against the tower include Kathleen Rooney Mara, whose family owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, and husband Chris Mara, the son of former New York Giants owner Wellington Mara and grandson of Giants founder Tim Mara.
Kathleen and Chris have lived in Bedford for nearly 40 years, where they raised their daughters, actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara.
‘In the winter I have a gorgeous view. And I look forward to it every year. Now I’ll be looking at an ugly tower that will soon be obsolete if the location is approved,’ Kathleen said in a November email to the planning board.
She claims that a ‘less intrusive’ tower is the ideal way forward since it would likely be replaced by satellites in the future.
Kate and Rooney: Kathleen and Chris have lived in Bedford for nearly 40 years, where they raised their daughters, actresses Rooney and Kate Mara
Other celebs: Other celebs that live in Bedford and other nearby towns include Martha Stewart, George Soros, Ralph Lauren, Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively (pictured), although it’s unclear where they stand on this cell tower proposal
‘I don’t understand why they would want to have it there. Isn’t that how everybody is? Like, not in my backyard or whatever, you know?’ Kathleen said Friday.
Other celebrities that live in Bedford and nearby towns include Martha Stewart, George Soros, Ralph Lauren, Matt Damon, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, although it is unclear where they stand on this cell tower proposal.
One of Gere’s own employees, executive chef Roxanne Spruance, owner of the Michelin-rated bistro dubbed The Barn, is claiming Gere and his business partner, real estate developer Russell Hernandez, may have agreed to the cell tower to end the lawsuit, in exchange for the expansion of the Bedford Post Inn being approved by Town Supervisor Ellen Calves.
The scenic inn – which was recently approved by town officials for a ten-room expansion – boasts a Michelin-rated bistro, as well as a pool and a spa
The Gere-owned property was opened to the public in 2019, and boasts king deluxe suites that cost up to $1,075-per-night on weekends
A portion of land surrounding the upstate getaway was offered up by Gere as a site for the prospective tower, which the actor and others such as Verizon argue will improve cell service and communications with emergency responders in the town, located in Westchester county
Spruance alleged at a December planning board meeting that Gere and Hernandez got approval for the expansion in September, which would add 10 additional rooms, where king deluxe suites can run $1,075 a night on weekends.
“I just want to make it very clear that the restaurant and the hotel are very separate,” Spruance told the Bedford Planning Board.
‘The actions of my landlords in thinking this was a good idea… is completely separate from my wishes [and] desires as a business owner,’ she added.
Calves said Spruance’s accusation is ‘not based on reality or fact.’
‘The owners of the inn have been working on expanding their operations and have had plans before various boards of the town for several years and all of those have been received with enthusiastic support,’ Calves added
Calves said that Gere and Hernandez ‘generously offered’ their location for the tower because they ‘care deeply’ about first responders.
‘It definitely came to our attention because they are working on their property, but in no way, shape or form was this idea put forward asking for any kind of favor or preferential treatment. Their project was well underway and already on the path to approval, Calves insisted.
Another resident – 63-year-old Jim Hoffman who lives down the street from the Bedford Post Inn – believes Spruance’s accusation.
He adds that the tower would ‘inflict maximum adverse impacts’ to both his ridgeline view and the value of his home, which he estimates is at $2.5 million.
‘It’s going to be right in our faces. Anytime we look outside we’ll be reminded somewhat of the distrust in and corruption of our town,’ he said, adding he would never return to The Barn if the tower is approved, even though he loves the food and the atmosphere.
The Bedford Planning Board will continue to review the cell tower proposal at a board meeting on Monday.
One of Gere’s own employees at the inn claims Gere and his business partner, real estate developer Russell Hernandez, may have agreed to the cell tower to end the suit, in exchange for the expansion of the Bedford Post Inn being approved by Town Supervisor Ellen Calves
Town supervisor Ellen Calves said: ‘The owners of the inn have been working on expanding their operations… for several years and all of those have been received with enthusiastic support’