Release Main Page
Letter from Develop Don't Destroy Attorney Jeff Baker
to MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow
the Letter (pdf)
Release: July 26, 2005
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Attorney
Tells MTA Ratner's Bid is Contingent on Eminent Domain
Legal Counsel Informs MTA of Ratner's Legal Hurdles and Ramifications
NEW YORK, NY -- Jeff Baker, attorney for Develop
Don't Destroy Brooklyn, of the Albany law firm Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg,
Baker & Moore LLC, has sent a letter to the MTA's Chairman Peter Kalikow,
and all the Board members today.
EXCERPTS FROM THE
In the letter to the MTA, Mr. Baker states:
plan for the Yards contemplates the use of eminent domain to take
property from individuals and businesses in the adjacent footprint
area in the event that the company is unable to negotiate the private
purchase of such property under the threat of condemnation. At present,
DDDB members include certain property owners who have no intention
of selling to FCRC and are committed to challenging FCRC's proposed
use of eminent domain in a court of law. Over the past two years,
FCRC has indicated that it would either argue that the area is blighted
or that an economic benefit would accrue to the city from its development
in order to justify its invocation of eminent domain. As counsel
for DDDB, I wish to make it clear to the MTA that both proposed
theories would meet vigorous opposition in court."
The letter concludes:
"As FCRC's bid is contingent
on the use of eminent domain, it is imperative that the MTA is aware
of the significant challenges the company could face if it pursues
its current plans. Therefore, I respectfully urge that you consider
the ramifications to the MTA of accepting any bid which is contingent
upon such a questionable use of the power of eminent domain and
that the MTA Board carefully consider all bids before moving forward."
DDDB spokesperson, Daniel Goldstein said, "The MTA has a choice
between Ratner's proposal which could face years of major legal hurdles
and Extell's proposal which does not contemplate the use eminent domain
and therefore would avoid such legal obstacles. The MTA must consider
the huge risk they would be taking if they award their property to
Goldstein continued, "Many of my neighbors and I have no intention
of selling to FCRC and succumbing to his threats. That includes residents
(homeowners and tenants of all incomes) and businesses. We want to
stay in our homes and in our neighborhood. We strongly believe that
the contemplated use of eminent domain for Mr. Ratner's project, already
used as a threat, runs contrary to the Constitution's public use clause
in the Fifth Amendment. It also appears to run afoul of the US Supreme
Court's Kelo decision from last month. It is also clear to us that
Mr. Ratner's desire for our homes and businesses is nothing but pure
greed. The rail yards and property he already owns, the Atlantic Center
Mall, are more than enough acres to build the project he has proposed.
Taking our homes and businesses is an illegal land grab, and we intend
to show that in the courts when the time comes."
DONíT DESTROY BROOKLYN
leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing
and destroying them.
We oppose Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" proposal in Prospect Heights,
Over 5,000 members.