In a little-noticed ruling that could pack a punch for property owners, a judge has blasted the city for abusing eminent domain in its bid to seize buildings in East Harlem -- yet says there's nothing he can do about it.Previous notice
In a searing statement, Justice James Catterson of the state Appellate Division accused the city of falsely claiming "blight" as a ploy to transfer private property to developers.
But New York's lower courts are powerless to stop it, said Catterson, thanks to prior rulings from the state Court of Appeals on eminent-domain cases related to Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards development and Columbia University's West Harlem expansion.
"In my view, the record amply demonstrates that the [East Harlem] neighborhood in question is not blighted . . . and that the justification of under-utilization is nothing but a canard to aid in the transfer of private property to a developer," Catterson said of the city's argument that it can grab two blocks between 125th and 127th streets along Third Avenue because the area is economically depressed.
"Unfortunately for the rights of the citizens affected by the proposed condemnation, recent rulings . . . have made plain there is no longer any judicial oversight of eminent-domain proceedings," the justice wrote.
Catterson and a panel of four other Appellate Division justices dismissed the matter of Uptown Holdings vs. New York City on Oct. 12, 2010...
Actually, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn noticed in October, and so did others watching Atlantic Yards, including this blog.
Catterson is known for the plurality opinion temporarily blocking eminent domain in the Columbia University expansion and also a searing concurrence, which read like a dissent, in the case challenging the Atlantic Yards environmental review.
On the agenda: EB-5?
This Post article suggests that newspaper can put issues on the agenda when someone decides it's important, whether or not it's "old news."
By the same token, couldn't the Post cover Forest City Ratner's astonishing effort to raise money from Chinese millionaires seeking green cards under the EB-5 immigration program, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's lies in service to that effort?