Thursday, January 28, 2010

As condemnation hearing approaches Friday, plaintiffs organized by DDDB file challenge, aiming to stop process of taking property

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) is inviting supporters to Come Out for the Condemnation Hearing Tomorrow, at which the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) will pursue what is usually a simple procedure: taking title to properties in a condemnation case.

Property owners and leaseholders organized by DDDB, as noted below, have filed a challenge to the ESDC's petition.

The hearing will be at 9:30 am before Judge Abraham Gerges in Kings County State Supreme Court, IAS Part 74, 320 Jay Street, Room 17.21, Brooklyn.

Complication and challenges

Though developer Forest City Ratner and others assume that title will pass tomorrow, paving the way for street closings and more, nothing with Atlantic Yards has been simple.

Indeed, the attorney representing some of those facing condemnation will not be there to argue about valuation--usually the main variable at issue--but about fundamentals.

Attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff last month said that "we will challenge the petition. It is defective in many respects."

DDDB statement

DDDB today issued a statement:
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn continues to offer its full support to the property owners and leaseholders in their ongoing legal effort to defend their homes and businesses against Forest City Ratner's ill-conceived, politically corrupt project. Today, their attorney, Matthew Brinckerhoff, has filed an answer challenging both the substance of the petition and the procedure by which the Empire State Development Corporation is attempting to seize title to their properties, which, unfortunately for Forest City, continue to stand in the way of its taxpayer-subsidized basketball arena and its thousands of parking spaces.

The respondents' answer points out, among many defects in the ESDC's papers, that the ESDC seeks to condemn this property to support a plan long ago abandoned by the developer in favor of a much-altered project that the state freely admits - but not in front of a judge - could take 25 years to build. The answer also demands dismissal of the proceeding because the ESDC has failed to set forth the public benefits of the project, although it's expressly required by the law to do so.

DDDB and the property owners and leaseholders continue to hold out faith that the judicial system will finally expose the gross, irreparable flaws in the Atlantic Yards project, and in the governmental abuse of the public trust, and will refuse to grant Forest City Ratner the private property that it covets.
Other cases

No other legal case specifically stops condemnation nor, should it go through, subsequent construction by the developer.

However, state Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, who last week heard the challenge to the ESDC's Modified General Project Plan, refrained from ruling on a preliminary injunction to block site construction specifically because only ongoing utility work and demolition work was planned. Her ruling on the case is expected in about two months.

1 comment:

  1. The legal issues raised by the respondents' thoughtful answer will take well over a year to resolve, without counting appeals. The key matter is the change of the project without new EDPL findings. ESDC will not be able to ram the new AYP through the court without a very convincing explanation - and not the kind devised by the Brett Yormarks of this world ... If I were a bondholder, I would anticipate the return of my investment next year.

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