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About DDDB
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and there are 51 community organizations formally aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.

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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

Brief to High Court Charges Bias and Corruption by ESDC in Atlantic Yards Case


Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and
25 Community Groups
Ask NY State's High Court to Hear Their Appeal
Challenging Atlantic Yards Blight Designation,
Charging Bias and Corruption by the ESDC

BROOKLYN, NY (August 4, 2009) — Raising substantial questions about bias and corruption in decision-making by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, and 25 community group co-petitioners, filed a brief with New York's highest court. The co-petitioners are asking the New York State Court of Appeals to hear their appeal on an adverse ruling on their case challenging the ESDC's Environmental Impact Statement and Blight Study for Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards development proposal.

A key issue in the case is the ESDC's designation of Ratner's handpicked development site as "blighted." The "blight" determination made by the ESDC in 2006 is required to proceed with a Land Use Improvement Project under which most of the Atlantic Yards development proposal is designated.

Earlier this year, the Appellate Division ruled that the state's "blight" designation had a "rational basis." However, Justice Catterson—one of the four judges on the panel—wrote a concurring opinion which raises substantial questions about that basis, strongly suggesting there was no rational basis, but rather a decision to facilitate Forest City Ratner in its effort to control 22 valuable acres in the heart of Brooklyn.

Catterson wrote:
"Because I believe that the New York Urban Development Corporation Act…is ultimately being used as a tool of the developer to displace and destroy neighborhoods that are ‘underutilized,' I write separately. I recognize that long-standing and substantial precedent requires a high level of deference to the Empire State Development Corporation's finding of blight. Reluctantly, therefore I am compelled to accept the majority's conclusion that there is sufficient evidence of "blight" in the record under this standard of review. However, I reject the majority's core reasoning, that a perfunctory ‘blight study' performed years after the conception of a vast development project should serve as the rational basis for a determination that a neighborhood is indeed blighted.

…ESDC's contention that as 'a matter of law,' ESDC could only look at conditions contemporaneous with the study, which was conducted years after the [project's] announcement, is ludicrous on several levels."
(Emphasis added.)
The petitioners' motion papers focus on the rationality of the ESDC's determination that the project site was "blighted," and that the ESDC improperly designated the Barclays Center Arena as a "civic project" under the Urban Development Corporation Act.

"As Justice Catterson properly noted, ESDC's failure to consider the context of existing economic development trends in Prospect Heights should make the blight determination per se irrational," said lead attorney Jeffrey Baker. "The ESDC's blight determination was clearly pre-determined, and therefore biased, arbitrary and capricious and should be overturned."

Specifically the petitioners have asked the Court of Appeals to address the following five issues:

1. Whether ESDC's purposeful denial and mischaracterization of the uncontroverted economic conditions and trends in the project area, and its knowing misrepresentations of crime data in the project area, to support its "blight" determination, demonstrate a degree of bias and corruption on the part of ESDC which warrants invalidation of its determination that the area is "substandard and insanitary" for purposes of designating the project a "land use improvement project" under the Urban Development Corporation Act (UDCA).

2. Whether ESDC's purposeful denial and mischaracterization of the uncontroverted economic conditions and development trends in the project area, in order to justify its rejection of project alternatives, demonstrate a degree of bias and corruption on the part of ESDC which warrants invalidation of its rejection of project alternatives under State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

3. Whether ESDC was required to consider the economic conditions and development trends in the project area in order to exercise its authority to designate and undertake the project as a "land use improvement project" under the UDCA.

4. Whether a sports arena leased for one dollar per year to a private, for-profit entity to be operated as a professional sports facility, with trivial civic benefits, may nevertheless be designated a "civic project" under the UDCA.

5. Whether the standard of review of an agency action under CPLR Article 78 is the same as the standard of review in a taxpayer action under section 51 of the General Municipal Law.

The brief can be downloaded at:

All relevant case files can be found at:

Posted: 8.04.09
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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.

Appeal briefs are here.

Appellate Divsion
Rules for ESDC
What would Atlantic Yards Look like?...
Photo Simulations
Before and After views from around the project footprint revealing the massive scale of the proposed luxury apartment and sports complex.

Click for
Screening Schedule
Isabel Hill's
"Atlantic Yards" documentary
Brooklyn Matters

Read a review
Atlantic Yards
would be
Click image to see why:

-No Land Grab.org

-Atlantic Yards Report
-Atlantic Yards Deathwatch
-The Footprint Gazette
-Brooklyn Matters
-Noticing New York
-NY Times "The Local" FG/CH
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-Council of B'klyn N'hoods
-The Brooklyn Paper
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-Atlantic Lots
-Who Walk in Brooklyn
-S. Oxford St. Block Assoc.
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-Freddys Bklyn Roundhouse
-Ctr for the Study of Bklyn
-Pardon Me for Asking
-Clinton Hill Blog
-Only The Blog Knows BK
-Sustainable Flatbush
-A Child Grows in Bklyn
-Williamsburg Warriors

-The Real Estate
-Rail Yards Blog (H. Yards)
-OnNYTurf-Atlantic Yards
-Manhattan User's Guide
-Streets Blog
-Urban Place & Space
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-Field of Schemes
-News 12 Brooklyn
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-Dist.35 Comm'ity Gazette
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