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For Immediate Release: August 4, 2009
Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and
25 Community Groups
Ask NY State's High Court to Hear Their Appeal
Challenging Atlantic Yards Blight Designation,
Charging Bias and Corruption by the ESDC
BROOKLYN, NY (August 4, 2009) — Raising substantial questions about bias
and corruption in decision-making by the Empire State Development Corporation
(ESDC), Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, and 25
community group co-petitioners, filed a brief
with New York's highest court. The co-petitioners are asking the New York
State Court of Appeals to hear their appeal on an adverse ruling on their case
challenging the ESDC's Environmental Impact Statement and Blight Study for Forest
City Ratner's Atlantic Yards development proposal.
A key issue in the case is the ESDC's designation of Ratner's handpicked
development site as "blighted." The "blight" determination made by the ESDC
in 2006 is required to proceed with a Land Use Improvement Project under
which most of the Atlantic Yards development proposal is designated.
Specifically the petitioners have asked the Court of Appeals to address the following five issues:
1. Whether ESDC's purposeful denial and mischaracterization of
the uncontroverted economic conditions and trends in the project area, and its
knowing misrepresentations of crime data in the project area, to support its "blight"
determination, demonstrate a degree of bias and corruption on the part
of ESDC which warrants invalidation of its determination that the area
is "substandard and insanitary" for purposes of designating the project a "land
use improvement project" under the Urban Development Corporation Act (UDCA).
2. Whether ESDC's purposeful denial and mischaracterization of
the uncontroverted economic conditions and development trends in the project area,
in order to justify its rejection of project alternatives, demonstrate
a degree of bias and corruption on the part of ESDC which warrants invalidation
of its rejection of project alternatives under State Environmental Quality Review
3. Whether ESDC was required to consider the economic conditions and development trends in the project area in order to exercise its authority to designate and undertake the project as a "land use improvement project" under the UDCA.
4. Whether a sports arena leased for one dollar per year to a private, for-profit entity to be operated as a professional sports facility, with trivial civic benefits, may nevertheless be designated a "civic project" under the UDCA.
The brief can be downloaded at:
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