Please note our new postal address when sending
contributions to the legal fund:
121 5th Avenue, PMB #150
Brooklyn, New York 11217
Our coalition consists of 21 community organizations and
there are 51 community organizations formally
aligned in opposition to the Ratner plan.
DDDB is a volunteer-run organization. We have over 5,000
subscribers to our email newsletter, and 7,000 petition
signers. Over 800 volunteers have registered with DDDB
to form our various teams, task-forces and committees
and we have over 150 block captains. We have a 20 person
volunteer legal team of local lawyers supplementing our
We are funded entirely by individual donations from the community at large
and through various fundraising events we and supporters have organized.
We have the financial support of well over 3,500 individual
The Ratner Touch
Yards Report has
been doing some deep research on political donations from the Ratner family,
with a focus on famed Constitutional Rights attorney–and brother of Bruce
Ratner. Michael Ratner is
an investor in the Nets (and perhaps the entire "Atlantic Yards"
proposal, we're not sure). In sum, Michael Ratner has donated substantial
sums of money to politicians who neither share his known political beliefs or
could impact his core issues, other than their ability to help further his brother
Bruce Ratner's real estate development goals.
Bruce Ratner doesn't just include his brother as a middleperson, but also his
sister-in-law, his sister, and his girlfriend. Most astounding are Michael Ratner's
contributions to convicted former Kings County Democratic party boss Clarence
Norman, Democratic Party pariah Ed Towns and NY City Comptroller William Thompson.
Thompson, as Comptroller, has given resounding support to the "Atlantic Yards"
plan though he has never publicly scrutinized its various public funding mechanisms
or the financial impact on the City of New York.
Michael Ratner has often donated using the 1 Metrotech address which happens
to house Forest City Ratner's headquarters. Additionally his financial support
of "Atlantic Yards," which arguably abuses the Fifth
and First Amendments, has confounded us for quite a while, as we have great
respect for the Constitutional and Human Rights work that he does.
Michael Ratner has said that when it comes to his brother Bruce Ratner he won't
go against blood. That's acceptable, but does he have to go with
blood with so much green? That's a different story.
From Atlantic Yards Report:
Ratner campaign money trail leads to... Michael (& his wife)And more eminent domain support:
Dennis Kucinich, Jonathan Tasini, and... Edolphus Towns.
Deborah Glick, Liz Krueger, and... Martin Malave Dilan.
The first two names in each trio are noted progressives, while those coming
third are undistinguished products of the Brooklyn machine (who also support
Atlantic Yards). Towns and Dilan have drawn criticism from progressives for
their votes, respectively, for the Central
American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and to require inadequate
protections against lead-paint hazards.
But all have received campaign contributions from Michael Ratner (right), the
eminent human rights lawyer. While Ratner's not talking, his Brooklyn political
contributions seem guided not by ideology but by the interests of Forest City
Ratner (FCR), the development company run by his brother Bruce.
Michael Ratner and his wife Karen Ranucci, both Greenwich Village residents,
have recently made campaign contributions using Forest City Ratner's Brooklyn
building as a return address. Ranucci has matched many of her husband's contributions.
And Bruce Ratner's girlfriend
Pamela Lipkin, as well as other Ratner family members, have made contributions
engineered by an FCR lobbying firm.
Even though Bruce Ratner no longer contributes to political races himself, his
inner circle seems willing to help out. Indeed, Michael Ratner/Ranucci contributions
to Yvette Clarke suggest that the developer supports--or at least supported--the
pro-AY City Councilwoman in her bid to win the tight four-person race for the
open 11th Congressional District seat.
And Michael Ratner/Ranucci contributions to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver--sent
from the Brooklyn address--hint that the developer won't forget to lobby the
individual on the Public Authorities Control Board who has the greatest power
to stop or shape the Atlantic Yards project....
...Bundling for Thompson
In 2001, Michele de Milly, whose firm has long done p.r.
for FCR, organized five
contributions of $4500--for a total of $22,500--to William Thompson's campaign
for city comptroller. The donors were Michael Ratner, Ranucci, Lipkin, Bruce
Rebecca Ratner, and Ellen Ratner of Washington, another family member.
Thompson is now
of the Atlantic Yards project, even though it raises similar issues--questionable
financing and the absence of a transparent public process--that he cited when
Mayor Mike Bloomberg's Hudson Yards plan in October 2004....
Another curious pair of Michael Ratner/Ranucci contributions came just last
week, on 8/31/06, when each gave $5400--from the MetroTech address--to the reelection
campaign of State Senator
Marc Coppola, who's in a tight primary
It's unclear what interest two Greenwich Village residents have in a campaign
to represent Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Nearly all of Coppola's donors are local.
Still he has played a key role in discussion
of a proposed Buffalo casino, which is highly
controversial. Forest City Ratner was lobbying
New York City regarding casino gambling way back in 1999. And Forest City Ratner's
parent company, Forest City Enterprises, has tried to get into the casino
business in Pittsburgh....
Eminent domain in Queens
A check of the campaign database this morning showed additional $5400 contributions
from both Michael Ratner and Ranucci to State Senator John Sabini of Queens,
who's in a hard-fought
primary battle against City Councilman Hiram Monserrate. Both contributions
were sent from the MetroTech address. More contributions may surface as candidates
belatedly file their disclosure forms.
The issue in Queens may be eminent domain, as the Queens Ledger reported last
Perhaps the topic that best highlighted the differing political styles of
Monserrate and Sabini was issue of eminent domain at Willets Point. The pair
both agreed that any use of eminent domain, generally speaking, should be held
to the highest scrutiny, but Monserrate has been an outspoken critic of using
eminent domain at Willets Point at all, whereas Sabini has largely played a
behind-the-scenes role, or no role in Monserrate's opinion.
And Forest City Ratner is a finalist
for the redevelopment plan at Willets Point....