The answer, as far as I can tell:
- she said something at least pretty close
- she did announce opposition to eminent domain early on
- she has been less vocal than leaders of the AY opposition regarding eminent domain
I wasn't there to hear the quote, so I checked with Simon's campaign. "I cannot confirm the exact wording of what Jo Anne had said. She did attest that she had publicly opposed the use of eminent domain early on," responded campaign manager Kelly Donnelly. "As I remember it, I believe she was rebutting to an attack that she had never done so."
Indeed, though Simon has been most closely identified with BrooklynSpeaks and its “mend-it-don’t-end-it” stance on Atlantic Yards, which explicitly steered clear of litigation, the Boerum Hill Association, whose Atlantic Yards task force Simon headed, issued a February 2004 press release in which the organization opposed the project based on several factors, including scale, failure to account for infrastructure costs, public financing, and eminent domain.
"As Chair of the Atlantic Yards Task Force for the Boerum Hill Association, Jo Anne led the group effort as they conducted extensive research on the proposal, coordinated outreach and educated members of the community about the proposal, and crafted one of the very first thorough and exhaustive assessments of the proposal," Donnelly said.
When BrooklynSpeaks was formed in 2006, I noted that the BHA had recently reiterated its opposition to eminent domain.
As noted on the Real Reform blog, Simon's 8/23/06 testimony to the Empire State Development Corporation on the project didn't mention eminent domain. Then again, like many others in organizations that split up their testimony for the purposes of the public hearing, she was explicitly testifying on issues in the environmental impact statement such as traffic.
By becoming a prominent member of BrooklynSpeaks, Simon essentially muted opposition to eminent domain while pushing for reforms like a new governance structure.