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don't destroy

BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2006

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and Co-Plaintiffs File Motion For Relief in the Court of Appeals
Plaintiffs Seek Fairness in Process in Which Attorney David Paget is Shared by Forest City Ratner and ESDC on "Atlantic Yards"Proposal Review

NEW YORK, NY— Today Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and 15 co-plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to appeal a case it had won in State Supreme Court but was overturned last month by the Appellate Division. The case the plaintiffs won in the trial court centered around environmental attorney David Paget, of Sive, Paget & Riesel, who had an apparent conflict of interest as he had represented developer Forest City Ratner for its "Atlantic Yards" proposal and then switched to represent the state public agency-the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC)­charged with representing the public interest in the environmental review of the same development proposal.

Forest City Ratner's "Atlantic Yards"is the largest single-source development proposed in the history of New York City.

In their motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York State), Develop Don't Destroy and its co-plaintiffs ("the petitioners") contend that:

The specific conflict of interest issue presented here appears to be a case of first impression in New York State courts, and implicates fundamental issues of governmental integrity and accountability in the context of an enormously controversial development project that will have a significant impact on hundreds of thousands of citizens and significantly change several Brooklyn neighborhoods…

To hold that the ethical rules applicable to a public entity acting for the benefit of the public are the same as the rules applicable to purely private conduct, particularly in the context of the State government's oversight and review of a publicly subsidized, large-scale community redevelopment project, undermines public trust in the integrity of government…

Because this issue is vitally important to the public and presents a novel issue of law, petitioners respectfully submit that leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals should be granted.

"Our community intends to fight for justice and transparency in the environmental review process at every turn. To the extent that the political and economic elite think that they can run roughshod over the residents of Brooklyn by sharing advisers and ignoring the rules, we will seek the guidance of the highest court available,"Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn legal committee chair Candace Carponter said. "In this case, the trial court saw through the sham of the government and the developer sharing the same attorney on the same development proposal­Forest City Ratner's ‘Atlantic Yards.' Although the Appellate Division thought this conflict was acceptable, we hope the Court of Appeals will decide to hear the case and independently evaluate the situation. As such, we are making application to the Court of Appeals to review this case and to, we hope, rule in favor of transparency, fairness and the obligation of all parties to play by the rules; it's the least we can ask for when so much is at stake."

The motion can be found here:

The Appellate Division's ruling can be found here:

All case files can be found here:

DEVELOP DON’T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community coalition
fighting for development that will unite our communities instead of dividing and destroying them