Sunday, November 09, 2014

Atlantic Yards down the memory hole: Goldstein was holding out "in hopes of getting more money" (no)

On one level, it's a silly spat over a sloppy, nasty printed aside, followed by the unwillingness of a journalist to acknowledge error.

On another, it's an example of the phenomenon I've called Atlantic Yards Down the Memory Hole.

In the midst of a Commercial Observer interview, Douglas Durst Talks Queens, Midtown and WTC, editor/reporter Guelda Voien wrote regarding the planned Hallets Point project in Astoria:
Unfortunately, one holdout is also threatening the project, as The Real Deal reported last month. An entity called Astoria Equities 2000 signed a contract to sell a plot, one of three that makes up the Hallets Point project, in 2007, although the sale was not supposed to close until September 2014, TRD said. Alas, principal Isaac Deutsch is now reneging on his word, almost certainly in hopes of getting more money, a la Daniel Goldstein at the Atlantic Yards.
I commented:
That line "principal Isaac Deutsch is now reneging on his word, almost certainly in hopes of getting more money, a la Daniel Goldstein at the Atlantic Yards" is irresponsible and wrong.
See Goldstein's statement for a more accurate description of what happened: see his lawyer Michael Rikon's letter:
Added Eric McClure (former main editor of NoLandGrab), commenting as Park Slope Neighbors:
The conceit that Daniel Goldstein devoted a quarter of his life to fighting Atlantic Yards as a money-making endeavor is patently ridiculous.
The conflict and the big picture

And that let loose some reciprocal conflict on Twitter, ultimately involving McClure and then Goldstein himself, with Voien dissing "hyper NIMBY gentlemen of twitter" and declaring:
Anti #AtlanticYards activists more annoying than the actual development.Make me wish they'd pave over the whole borough, bike activists &all
So much for chagrin over your errors.

It's unfortunate to have to argue about the past regarding Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, when the present offers many potential stories: the deceptive effort to raise funds from immigrant investors; Forest City's bitter battle with Skanska over the stall in modular construction; the delayed plan for the noise-buffering green roof; even the Barclays Center's hushed response to a serious fracas at the arena entrance.

The real holdout and the public payment

Unfortunate was Voien's naive claim that she was "using the paper of record for my info [here]" and "I assume they would correct any factual errors." Um, no, they don't.

Nor did the Times report in that article that the reason Goldstein had refused to sell over the years was that he was holding out for more money. At the time of the settlement, Goldstein no longer owned his apartment, so the only issue was money and timing.

The Times did report in a separate article that, according "to an executive who was briefed on the negotiations but was not authorized to discuss it publicly, Mr. Goldstein initially sought $5 million," which was denied by Goldstein and Rikon. Forest City executive MaryAnne Gilmartin made a similar point with the press, but that's undermined by her record of credibility.

You know who did hold out for more money? Speculator Menachem Friedfertig. And you know who reimbursed Forest City Ratner for the generous $3 million paid for Friedfertig's unoccupied property? The public. That didn't get coverage.

It gets nasty

Voien's first tweet below was published before this post. My tweet announced this post. Her second tweet was a response:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:06 AM

    As usual, awesome. Yes, what's $3million more to a speculator when there are billions involved and you can smear someone actually engaged in activism and public policy issues?

    That Gulda Voin sounds like a piece of work, will definitely check out her keen brunch reviews!