Base jumper sued by Empire State Building

Jeb Corliss

Jeb Corliss

For five years, TV daredevil Jeb Corliss and the Empire State Building’s owners have been in a landmark legal battle over his attempt to parachute jump off the building.

In 2006, Corliss was the host of a Discovery Channel program called “Stunt Junkies.” He hid his parachute equipment in a fat suit as he rode up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building with the intention of jumping.

He stripped off the disguise in a bathroom, put on a helmet with a video camera and scaled a fence at the edge of the deck but security guards stopped him by grabbing him through the fence.

After the incident, Discovery Channel dropped Corliss as a presenter. The Empire State Building’s owners argued that the stunt attempt harmed business at New York City’s tallest skyscraper, in part by forcing an hour-long shutdown of the observation deck. In the end, he was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment: sentenced to 3 years’ probation and 100 hours of community service.

Corliss is a BASE jumper — the acronym stands for “building, span, antenna, earth” — who says he’s made more than 1,000 successful leaps from structures and cliffs around the world. Commenting on this particular jump, he told the jury he didn’t “think there was anything wrong with what I do” and believed BASE jumping should be a right.

Court records show the building owners’ civil case against Jeb Corliss was closed last week and lawyers confirmed a confidential deal has been reached.

Corliss is “very, very pleased with the resolution,” said his lawyer, Mark Jay Heller. “It’s been a tremendous
drain and emotional strain on him.”

See Jeb Corliss in Switzerland doing what he does best:

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