Friday, September 18, 2009

Weinstein awarded possession of property once claimed by Ratner, but condemnation plan awaits

A day after the Empire State Development Corporation finally corrected a deceptive map that suggested Forest City Ratner controlled three properties in the Atlantic Yards footprint, property owner Henry Weinstein got a court order giving him possession of the building and parking lot occupied by his tenant, Shaya Boymelgreen.

The properties, with asterixes indicating that while controlled by Ratner (according to the ESDC) the issue was in dispute , are at the southeast corner of Pacific Street and Carlton Avenue, on Block 1129, destined for interim surface parking.

Boymelgreen had leased the properties to FCR, which in turn leased them back to Boymelgreen, who used the building for offices. The fig leaf allowed the state and developer to assert that FCR owned or controlled 90% of the site, but that was 5% too much. Weinstein has protested in court for years, and won interim victories.

Court order today

“We got an order of immediate possession,” Weinstein said. On Monday, he said, he likely will go to the properties, make sure everyone has left, or get the sheriff to evict them.

No money has been awarded yet, but Weinstein said that Boymelgreen owes about $200,000 for four months of rent, then up to $110,000 additionally. After that, he intends to seek several million dollars for breaching the lease, as well as payment for the $29 million for the 41 years left on the lease.

“The important point is that Ratner illegally and fictitiously and fraudently represented he controlled the property,” Weinstein said. “ESDC [Empire State Development Corporation] rubber-stamped it."

On Thursday, Weinstein made public comments before the ESDC, which passed the Atlantic Yards plan, setting the stage for the condemnation of his property. “They may take my property but they won’t stop me from fighting,” Weinstein said.

Companies controlled by Weinstein own a six-story yellow former manufacturing building at 752-766 Pacific Street, as well as two adjacent lots, used as a parking lot.

The building formerly was a typewriter ribbon and carbon paper manufacturer. The Ward Bakery down the block has since been demolished.

From Weinstein's testimony

I have owned this property since 1985. My property has been taken hostage by thugs, who should have no right to participate in a government project because of their intentional malicious actions towards me and the rest of the public. Not only is the U.S. Constitution being ignored, but one of the Ten Commandments, not to covet they neighbors property is also being trampled on by ESDC and Bruce Ratner.

There can be no excuses for the disingenuous mutterings that Ratner, FCRC, and ESDC have used to try and explain away their bad behavior, intentional bad acts, and the tactics which have been employed against me. It should be clear from the facts that my former tenant has already sold out his interest in the block (1129) after getting paid $45,000,000.00 million for the Ward Bakery and an estimated $10,000,000.00 million for assigning the leases from my property to Bruce Ratner. My former tenant has millions of reasons to be following Bruce Ratner and Forest City Ratner’s directions by continuing to holdover on my property. ESDC deserves special mention because, when the underlying facts and actions were brought to their attention, they turned a blind eye and did nothing to reign in their "favored developer’. That is what is most disturbing about this whole affair, that my government under the guise of an Authority can treat me as if the Divine Right of Kings still exists.

My property rights as well as the public’s due process rights have been violated in so many ways during the "Process" to approve this supposed public project, but what is most salient is that Bruce Ratner and FCRC never controlled my property, not even for an instant. This is very important because ESDC said he did, thereby perpetrating a fraud on the public when it mattered most, during the public comment period. In fact Ratner bought lot #1 on block 1129 on Dean Street which is directly behind my property, but I have a dominant easement as described in The Deed to my property (BLOCK1129 LOT 13) through to the street over his servient property from the back of my property, so the fact is Ratner does not even control his own property, let alone mine.

Allowing the developer to bus people into all the public hearings and take most of the time allowed for the public to voice concerns is another way they manipulated the process to absolutely violate the publics due process rights. The law says there should be public meetings, but if the developer brings a multitude of people in to hog most of the time allowed to speak, are not our due process rights violated, of cause they are. I for one am still outraged by the slight of hand used to deny me my due process rights, and I will never buckle under to tyranny when confronted by it.

I have prevailed in my litigation, but now Bruce Ratner, Shaya Boymelgreen, and FCRC with what I have to assume is ESDC’s blessings have morphed to a new low by allowing my property to fall into a serious state of neglect and disrepair as they have also stopped paying court ordered use and occupancy. They are now carrying on in an apparent lawless fashion with absolute arrogance because no one has been able to rein them in. Please see my two new motions which I have also attached which are scheduled to be heard tomorrow on Friday Sept. 18, 2009 , one is for contempt for ignoring a court order and stipulation and the second one is for possession of my property. Having no legal right to stay in possession of my property, they are acting illegally to keep me out of my own property until you condemn. It defies logic that ESDC is not aware of what has been done to me by Bruce Ratner under the cloak of ESDC’s own authority. ESDC has their collective head in the sand by allowing Bruce Ratner to self-certify with no oversight by ESDC.

I have done all that I could have done to alert the authorities and elected officials early on of the unethical practices used against me, but all my efforts fell on deaf ears. Now it should be obvious my opponents are desperately trying to stay in possession and keep me away from my property until there is a taking. The facts of my individual case alone should be enough for someone in authority to take a good long look to see what if any laws were broken, bent, or ignored. I will ultimately prevail in court, but a close reading of all the court documents will show my opponents are using every opportunity to stall the outcome of the case until you act to take my property. If anyone is thinking a Taking of my property will soften me up or help them in some way in this fight, they could not be more wrong. Eventually the truth will come out; your actions will be looked at closely, people will want to know why you did nothing when it mattered.

ESDC looks like a willing coconspirator by allowing Bruce Ratner to take my property in phase 1, instead of much later on as originally planned. He has so much property already; no one can really believe he needs my property for a staging area. The truth will come out.

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