Friday, October 16, 2009

Jeffries: MTA has breached fiduciary duty, but joining new lawsuit would compromise his advocacy

So why did Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, whose district includes the Atlantic Yards footprint, not join the lawsuit challenging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) renegotiated Vanderbilt Yard deal with Forest City Ratner, especially since his fellow (and neighboring) Assemblymembers, Jim Brennan and Joan Millman, had joined the lawsuit?

"I was aware that a lawsuit against the MTA was being contemplated," he said in response to my query. "Substantively, it is my view that the MTA has indeed breached its fiduciary duty to protect the public interest by renegotiating the deal with FCR. However, I concluded that my ability to forcefully and candidly advocate on behalf of the community, with the Governor and the MTA on the other side of the negotiating table, would be compromised if I were to be a named plaintiff in the litigation at this point in time."

Speculation about motives

I can only speculate at the additional motives behind Jeffries' decision. He has never been an ally of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), which has organized and funded the lawsuit, nor longtime Atlantic Yards opponents City Council Member Letitia James and state Senator Velmanette Montgomery.

Other elected officials--including Brennan and Millman, until now--have steered clear of DDDB, but apparently have reached the end of their patience with the government agencies dealing with Atlantic Yards.

Perhaps Jeffries has calculated that Atlantic Yards is more likely than not, and that, should the project move forward, he wants to make sure that Forest City Ratner, and government agencies that could provide housing subsidies, deliver on the 200 affordable homeowner units the developer promised in December 2006 but which have never been incorporated into government documentation.

1 comment:

  1. "However, I concluded that my ability to forcefully and candidly advocate on behalf of the community, with the Governor and the MTA on the other side of the negotiating table, would be compromised if I were to be a named plaintiff in the litigation at this point in time." Jeffries says.

    So, since he didn't "compromise" himself by joining litigation attempting to hold the MTA accountable for its sweetheart deal, is the Assemblyman forcefully and candidly advocating on behalf of the community now, or is he waiting until the arena opens?

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