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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: August 3, 2009

Atlantic Yards Eminent Domain Challenge
Asks Court of Appeals to Reject Kelo

Brooklyn Property Owners & Tenants File Appeal Brief in
NY State’s High Court—The Court of Appeals

BROOKLYN, NY— Nine business and residential property owners and tenants filed their appeal brief in the Court of Appeals (New York State's high court) on their challenge to New York State’s use of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards development proposal to enrich developer Forest City Ratner.

The properties in question are required for developer Forest City Ratner to construct its proposed Atlantic Yards project consisting of the Barclays Center Arena and 16 skyscrapers.

The case—Goldstein et al. v. N.Y.  State Urban Development Corporation—will be argued in Albany on October 14 at 2pm.

The owners of the properties targeted for seizure argue that the use of eminent domain for Atlantic Yards violates the New York State Constitution. The Court has been asked to consider a question of vital importance to all New Yorkers:  Will the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Kelo v. City of New London  continue to expose New Yorkers to the constant threat that their homes and businesses can be seized by the government and given to a more profitable or politically favored private enterprise, or does New York's distinct history and tradition as embodied in its Constitution protect its citizens from such abuse?  

"Kelo was wrongly decided," said Matthew Brinckerhoff, a lawyer representing the property owners. "This case provides an opportunity for the New York Court of Appeals to reject Kelo and continue its proud tradition of interpreting this State’s Constitution in a manner that affords more protection to individual rights and liberties.  We look forward to the argument in October."

The appellants' brief compellingly outlines, starting in 1683, New York State’s founders’ and courts’ long history of strict constitutional adherence to using eminent domain for a "public use," such as highways, parks and firehouses, not for a "public purpose" or "public benefit."

Nine property owners and tenants whose homes and businesses in the proposed Atlantic Yards footprint have been slated for government seizure for the megaproject proposed by developer Forest City Ratner filed the original case. Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) organized the case, which is funded by thousands of donations from individual community members across Brooklyn and New York City.

The brief can be downloaded at:

All case files can be downloaded at:

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
DDDB is 501c3 non-profit corporation supported by over 4,000 individual donors from the community.