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"Why should people get to see plans? This isn't a public project."
Bruce Ratner in Crain's Nov. 8, 2009

The Daily Denial

Another day, another Ratner denial of reports that his money-losing Nets or his floundering Atlantic Yards project are for sale.

Yesterday the Daily News reported that Ratner had been trying to unload the Nets on some investors but keep the team in the proposed Atlantic Yards arena if it's ever built. Later in the day the NY Post reported Ratner's denial of the Daily News story.

Today, after an exclusive Yahoo! Sports story reported that Ratner had been talking about selling the Nets or the Atlantic Yards project to Dubai investors or Russian investors, respectively, we get the second denial in two days.

You know the "Nets for Sale" chatter is causing serious headaches for Team Ratner because each time that talk bubbles up PR crisis managment guru Howard Rubenstein* is trotted out to deny the reports.

Last spring there was much chatter about selling the Nets and moving them to the Newark Prudential Center Arena. How did Ratner try to quell those stories? Here's Rubenstein, last April, denying the Nets to Newark talk:
"The team is absolutely not for sale," Ratner said through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. "We're inches away from completing the deal in Brooklyn."
And here's Rubenstein today, in The Star Ledger, coming out to deny the Nets to foreign investors story:
"Bruce Ratner has had absolutely no discussions with anyone from Dubai or Russia," said Rubenstein, who also said many U.S. investors have approached Ratner about the team.

"NBA teams receive overtures all the time from abroad as well as the U.S. We have a large project and we are happy to talk to those potential investors."
Only the Yahoo! story wasn't about foreign investors, but rather foreign purchasers. Nice, try.

Here's more of the Star Ledger denial story, where the Ratner denial then gets denied by an anonymous source with "knowledge of the talks":
New Jersey Nets owner Ratner denies talks with investors
by George E. Jordan/The Star-Ledger (Note: the original Star Ledger article published at 6:55 pm can be found here. The one below was an update which appeared at 11:21 pm.)

Nets owner Bruce Ratner said Wednesday that he welcomes hearing from potential investors from around the world interested in buying into his NBA franchise and its planned Brooklyn arena.
Bruce Ratner's seems to be admitting here that his financing is in big trouble, otherwise why would he be seeking more investors at all, let alone from "around the world." The Star Ledger article continues:
But Ratner denied a report that he is already entertaining overtures from investors in Russia and Dubai as potential sources of ready cash for the team and the Atlantic Yards project that includes the arena.

Yahoo Sports, citing two unnamed NBA sources, reported Wednesday Ratner is talking, or has spoken with, separate investor groups from Dubai and Russia that want to buy the team and take control of Atlantic Yards.

The Star-Ledger spoke with another person who said Ratner has been in contact since last summer with foreign investors. "It's absolutely true," said the person, who claimed knowledge of the talks but sought anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the developer.

But Ratner's spokesman, Howard Rubenstein, released a statement Wednesday night that denied the Yahoo report. He acknowledged, though, that Ratner would be "happy" to talk to new investors, foreign or domestic.

"Bruce Ratner has had absolutely no discussions with anyone from Dubai or Russia," said Rubenstein, who also said many U.S. investors have approached Ratner about the team.

"NBA teams receive overtures all the time from abroad as well as the U.S. We have a large project and we are happy to talk to those potential investors."

Ratner has repeatedly delayed the start of construction of the new $1 billion arena in downtown Brooklyn that would anchor an elaborate housing, office and retail development.

Ratner has said the project would not begin because of pending lawsuits, but in recent weeks the global credit crisis has raised questions about securing a construction loan for the arena, which carries a price tag of at least $900 million.

The Nets released a separate statement Wednesday night that said the "Nets are not for sale."

"However, like most other sports franchises, we often receive inquiries from potential investors, which just confirms that the team is a very valuable asset," the statement said. "We are firmly committed to the Nets and moving the team to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The person contacted by The Star-Ledger said investors from Asia, Russia and the Middle East are shopping for deals in New York City. The source said the foreign investors were more interested in Atlantic Yards than the NBA franchise...

We'll just state this flatly: New York State cannot allow Bruce Ratner to sell the rights to a project that has proven to be nothing but a failure to date, for which he doesn't own the land he needs and has not even started construction. We don't know all the details of Ratner's arcane contracts with New York State, but we trust selling a mirage is not allowed.

(*Note: Rubenstein was also used one other time by Ratner when his company had to deal with the internal corporate crisis of former Atlantic Yards head honcho Jim Stuckey's unexplained "resignation.")

Posted: 10.29.08
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Eminent Domain Case
Goldstein et al v. ESDC
[All case files]

November 24, 2009
Court of Appeals

[See ownership map]

EIS Lawsuit

DDDB et al v ESDC et al
Click for a summary of the lawsuit seeking to annul the review and approval the Atlantic Yards project.

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Appellate Divsion
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