Friday, April 15, 2011

Most politicians, Michael Ratner claimed, are "corrupt assholes;" he joked about having prosecutors evicted from Bruce's building

Developer Bruce Ratner's brother, and ally, appears in Brandt Goldstein's 2006 book Storming the Court: How a Band of Yale Law Students Sued the President--and Won, excerpted below:
[Law student] Lisa [Daugaard] met [Professor] Harold Koh in the spring of 1991, as a second-year student in his international business transactions class, known as IBT...

After the IBT class, she'd seen enough: Koh was of the system, by the system, and for the system. She would never have dealt with him again had it not been for a radical New York lawyer on campus named Michael Ratner. To Lisa, Ratner was the anti-Koh. Bearded, bald, and fond of quoting Che Guevara, he'd represented everyone from inmates in the 1971 Attica prison rebellion to Nicaraguan citizens attacked by U.S.-funded contras. Ratner had come of age at Columbia Law School during the Vietnam War, and he considered most politicians "corrupt assholes." Along with his colleagues at the Center for Constitutional Rights, he'd even sued to halt the president from sending U.S. troops into battle. Twice. "What's the purpose of going along with the status quo?" Ratner would ask. "The government has enough paid people to do their dirty work."
(Emphasis added)

Mr. Ratner, meet Mr. Kruger.

The two brothers

Another passage:
Michael Ratner hurried into One Pierrepont Plaza, a teak-colored skyscraper that housed the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York...

"This is the truth-and-justice brother," [civil division chief Bob] Begleiter said, introducing the visitor. "The other one, Bruce, he owns the building. Really."

[Scott] Dunn's eyes widened.

Ratner took the kidding with a smile. His brother was a hugely successful real estate developer, and the stark contrast between siblings--one sued presidents, the other dined with them--made for good gossip.

"Yeah," Ratner joked. "If the case doesn't go well, I'll have you all evicted."
Except sometimes the brothers' interests have aligned, as when Michael Ratner contributed to Brooklyn machine politicians.

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