Richard Gere Is Angering New Yorkers

Richard Gere has offered to let Verizon build a cell tower on his Bedford Post Inn in Bedford, New York, angering the rich and famous residents of the community.

By Jennifer Asencio | Published

Richard Gere

A proposed cell phone tower has residents of the small, wealthy town of Bedford, New York very angry at actor Richard Gere. The New York Post reports that the Pretty Woman star has agreed to install the tower atop his commercial property, the Bedford Post Inn, which local residents claim will impede the environment that made the town so exclusive. Among the residents of the town and nearby hamlets are celebrities such as the family of Rooney and Kate Mara, Jerry Seinfeld’s sister, Matt Damon, George Soros, and Martha Stewart.

The Bedford Post Inn is a quaint but exclusive hotel located just outside the town center of Bedford, an idyllic property with a hiking trail nearby that is nestled in the hills of northeast Westchester County, just north of the Bronx. The entire county is full of exclusive multi-million dollar estates and large horse ranches whose price tags approach $100 million. Richard Gere lives roughly 10 miles away from the Inn in the town of North Salem.

This part of Westchester County is also characterized by wide spaces held by multi-acre plots, meaning that residents pay a lot of money to live far away from their neighbors, much less industrial edifices such as a cell phone tower. The people whose homes are in the area have reached out to the town of Bedford to protest the tower, including an email from Kathleen Rooney Mara, mother of actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara. They have demanded an alternative to a large, obtrusive tower on Richard Gere’s investment property, especially as 5G is implemented, bringing smaller, more conspicuous wireless transmission.

Pretty Woman
Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

Other neighbors, as well as the executive chef at the Bedford Post Inn’s bistro restaurant, are angry for a different reason. Richard Gere and the other investors in the property have been applying with the town of Bedford for an expansion to the inn, which would add several more rooms, a spa, and a heated pool. These protesters claim that the agreement to build the cell phone tower at the inn involved some backdoor politics made by the property and the town of Bedford.

These allegations surround a lawsuit from Verizon against the town of Bedford because of a mandate from the Federal Communications Commission to fill in coverage gaps means that a location for a tower had to be found. According to some Bedford locals, the town approved the expansion of the inn in exchange for Richard Gere and his partners offering a way out of the lawsuit by hosting the site for the tower. One resident who lives close to the inn complained that the structure would be a reminder of the town’s corruption, although town officials have denied accusations of wrongdoing.

The Bedford Planning Board held a public hearing about the cell phone tower on Monday night, and the review of the proposition has been ongoing. This conflict is about more than the view from a million-dollar home, but also about how much residents of Bedford and its surrounding areas have paid for the privacy they enjoy. Richard Gere will have to find a way to appease the neighbors of his investment property or face their wrath.