Friday, January 19, 2007

More on the renters' lawsuit : lawyer says FCR can't deny offer to those suing

In my article in this week's Brooklyn Downtown Star, attorney George Locker says that comments from Forest City Ratner executive Jim Stuckey bolster the case filed by 13 tenants of rent-stabilized buildings owned by the developer. The tenants say that the relocation offer by the developer is insufficient. Excerpts:
Locker noted that Stuckey had confirmed that Forest City's offer does not apply to tenants suing over Atlantic Yards - a category that includes not only Locker's clients, but several tenants involved in a federal lawsuit challenging eminent domain.

Locker says such a strong-arm tactic violates the law. "The relocation requirements under the UDC [Urban Development Corporation] Act does not provide for relocation based on whether the displaced tenant passively accepts his/her fate, or chooses to seek relief from the courts," he said. "While Ratner may not like being sued, relocation is a right, not a gift."

"Why is the offer limited to tenants who don't sue Ratner, and why didn't ESDC state this?" he added. "Stuckey's comment that 'it is not our intention to fund the lawsuits against us' is telling. It is more accurate to say that the tenants in the footprint are subsidizing the project, by sacrificing their homes so Ratner can build on their building site."

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