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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2007

Constitutional Rights v. Naming Rights
  Ratner Announces Arena Naming Rights Deal With Barclays Bank
  Arena Faces Uncertainty ofFederal Eminent Domain Lawsuit

BROOKLYN, BARCLAYS, BROOKLYN, NY -- The NY Post announced today that developer Bruce Ratner has reached a lucrative arena naming rights agreement with London-based Barclays Bank.

Lost in this highly speculative agreement to brand the publicly funded arena proposed in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, is that the construction of "Barclays Center" depends on the outcome of the federal eminent domain lawsuit filed in October. The suit claims that the use of eminent domain to clear out homes to pave the way for the arena is unconstitutional. Currently 12 individuals (homeowners, tenants and business owners representing 26 residents) are plaintiffs on a federal lawsuit which says that the seizure of homes by New York State for Bruce Ratner's "Atlantic Yards" and its arena is unconstitutional.

The arena cannot be built without the taking of those homes.

"Barclays is supporting an abuse of the Constitution. Barclays Bank and Bruce Ratner are grossly jumping the gun since this publicly funded arena cannot be built without my home. And currently a federal court has begun reviewing the constitutionality of the taking of my home and the homes of my neighbors. Of course this lawsuit throws into question the value of these highly speculative naming rights," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn spokesperson Daniel Goldstein. "'Barclays Center': That almost sounds like Brooklyn Center but not. It goes to show that, once again, 'Atlantic Yards' has nothing to do with Brooklyn and everything to do with lucrative deals for Bruce Ratner."

The public would entirely fund the construction of Bruce Ratner's Barclays Arena. The arena construction is to be paid for by triple-tax-free bonds (government and the public don't yet know how much that bond debt service is but the last arena construction cost estimate was $637 million). The debt service is to be paid in the form of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT). So while Ratner does not pay property tax, which would normally go into the city treasury, instead he pays an equivalent payment towards the arena bond. It's as if government allowed you to forego your taxes and use that money to renovate your bathroom AND help pay off your mortgage. But we don't publicly fund bathroom renovations or mortgages.

"This lucrative, yet speculative, naming deal is yet another sweetheart deal for Ratner. The public funds the arena and Ratner makes the profit on the logo slapped on its dome," concluded Goldstein.

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