Skip to main content

Video: lawyer fighting condemnation for Atlantic Yards talks about case heard January 29 before Justice Gerges

After the hearing Friday in Kings County Supreme Court on eminent domain for Atlantic Yards, Matthew Brinckerhoff, attorney for those challenging eminent domain, answered a few questions at a brief press conference outside on Jay Street.



(Video courtesy of Michael Galinsky, who's working on the Battle of Brooklyn documentary.)

Expectations from hearing

Had he had expected Justice Abraham Gerges to transfer title, as had been sought by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) or had he expected the judge to put the condemnation on hold, as he did.

"I did not expect him to issue an order today; I would've been very surprised," responded Brinckerhoff, noting the flurry of legal arguments that had been submitted in just the past few days. "He has to at least consider in some way, shape, or form all the arguments we submitted.

The Leichter case

I pointed out that ESDC lawyer Charles Webb had told the judge that a case known as Leichter, regarding change in the plans for Times Square, controls the issue and that Brinckerhoff's clients had no case.

"He's really wrong about that," Brinckerhoff responded. "That's in the EDPL [Eminent Domain Procedure Law] 207 context. All that case says--it recognizes there can be some changes [in a plan]... If they had done their findings in December 2006 and three months later there were some changes, that alone wouldn't require them to start all over again."

"The question ultimately that that case doesn't address and no case addresses," he said, "is at what point do the changes become so significant that they have to result in an amended finding? As I said in court today, I think that we really can all agree that there is a point. What nobody knows is what that point is. Obviously I feel very strongly we've gone well past it over the course of the last four or five months, particularly in the past week."

(The latter was a reference to revelations, in the master closing documents, of extended deadlines and lenient demages for delays.)

New case

What about the additional case against the ESDC that was revealed in court, having been filed ten days earlier?

"That case is an Article 78 proceeding, filed on behalf of all the same entities and parties as I was representing today," Brinckerhoff said. "Basically, it's a defensive proceeding. We knew the ESDC was going to say today what it said... that 'you're in the wrong place.' As you heard today, we're happy to be in any place, and we're trying to be in every place."

"We feel some place should listen to us and actually rule on these arguments," he said. "If this court were to rule we're in the wrong place... we still have another place to go."

Procedural questions

What would happen if Gerges agreed to a transfer of title and Brinckerhoff's clients or project opponents win a case?

"This is like a proceduralist nightmare," Brinckerhoff said. "We would defnitely be in a court, seeking to have title transferred back."

He said that if his clients win the most recent case, or if Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) and other community groups win their case challenging the ESDC's approval of the 2009 Modified General Project Plan (pending before Justice Marcy Friedman), they will request--in some court--that the title be transferred back.

Candace Carponter, DDDB legal chair, pointed out the importance of addressing pending issues before title transfers, because that would lead to removing people from homes and businesses--well, not for at least three months--further demolition and then construction. So it could become meaningless.

"It could be a completely pyrrhic victory," Brinckerhoff added, saying that's why Gerges should decide, "because he's the one who's the trigger for the actual transfer of title."

Carponter said that, it's not unusual, "in the general scheme of litigation," for a judge to give time to get other issues decided before a ruling.

Fewer names

Brinckerhoff is only representing five or six people/businesses (in multiple entities), none of them residential renters. A couple of previously occupied buildings, according to a map shown in court, are now empty; one may have had renters who were plaintiffs in the eminent domain case. (I'll check.)

"The people I'm representing now are all the people who had a fee property interest that are therefore appropriate respondents in this case," Brinckerhoff said. "Residential tenants would not be."

Comments

  1. In our case before Judge Tolub, he ruled, and the Appellate Division affirmed, that rent regulated residential rental tenants are condemnees within the meaning of the EDPL law. No court had ever said that before.

    Therefore, residential rental tenants could properly be before Judge Gerges in the current vesting proceeding.

    This includes the residential rental tenants who are still on the site, but who appear to have no representation.

    Public Advocate DeBlasio - you are needed!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

No, security guards can't ban photos. Questions remain about visibility of ID/sticker system.

The bi-monthly Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Community Update meeting June 14, held at 55 Hanson Place, addressed multiple issues, including delays in the project, a new detente with project neighbors,concerns about traffic congestion, upcoming sewer work and demolitions, and an explanation of how high winds caused debris to fly off the under-construction 38 Sixth Avenue building. I'll have more coverage.
Security issues came up several times at the meeting.
Wayne Bailey, a resident who regularly takes photos and videos (that I often use) of construction/operations issues that impact residents, asked representatives of Tishman Construction if the security guard at the sites they're building works for them.
After Tishman Senior VP Eric Reid said yes, Bailey asked why a guard told him not to shoot video of the site, even though he was on a public street.

"I will address it with principals for that security firm," Reid said.
Forest City Ratner executive Ashley Cotton, the …

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what might be coming (post-dated pinned post)

Click on graphic to enlarge. This is post-dated to stay at the top of the blog. It will be updated as announced configurations change and buildings launch. The August 2014 tentative configurations proposed by developer Greenland Forest City Partners will change, and the project is already well behind that tentative timetable.


Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …