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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page


For Immediate Release: October 13, 2009


Elected Officials, Straphangers Campaign and DDDB Sue MTA for Sweetheart Deal With Forest City Ratner

Suit Says MTA Violated State Law and Atlantic Yards Deal Between Ratner and MTA Must Be Annulled



NEW YORK, NY ó The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was sued today for the June 24th deal it made to sell its 8.5-acre Vanderbilt Rail Yard to developer Forest City Ratner for its proposed 22-acre Atlantic Yards plan in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (18th District), Assemblymember Jim Brennan (44th District), Assemblymember Joan Millman (52nd District), NY City Councilmember Letitia James (35th District), NYPIRG/Straphangers Campaign and Develop Donít Destroy Brooklyn filed the lawsuit. The case was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

"While the MTA is forcing service cuts and fare increases on the people of New York, they are giving Forest City Ratner just about a free ride. We have laws in this state which forbid these kinds of sweetheart deals. You can’t short change the public to benefit a developer,” said lead plaintiff, state Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “With the Atlantic Yards, the MTA violated our legislation and the public trust. Their sale of the Vanderbilt Yard to Ratner must be annulled."

The suit seeks the annulment of the MTA’s deal to sell the rail yard to Forest City Ratner because it violated requirements of legislation meant to rein in the abuses of New York State’s public authorities. An annulment would disallow the transfer of the property, which the developer requires for its project, including its proposed basketball arena, until the MTA complied with the law.

The petitioners charge, specifically, that the cash-strapped transit authority violated the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005. Under that legislation, which former Governor George Pataki signed into law in 2006, the MTA was required to obtain an independent appraisal of the Vanderbilt Yard and seek out competitive offers for the property. The MTA failed to fulfill either of these legal requirements when its Board approved its new deal with Forest City Ratner on June 24th, 2009.

"We are asking the court to annul the MTA's agreement of this past June to sell the Vanderbilt Rail Yard to Forest City Ratner, because the agreement violated the procedural requirements of the Public Authorities Accountability Act of 2005, which were put in place to ensure that New York State's public authorities, including the MTA, adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards when selling their property. The MTA's deal to sell the Vanderbilt Rail Yard to Forest City Ratner did not meet those standards," said petitioners' attorney Randall Rasey of Barton, Barton & Plotkin.

The legal briefs for the caseóMontgomery et al. v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority et al. are at: http://dddb.net/MTAsuit

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The lawsuit is funded by Develop Donít Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB), which is funded entirely by thousands of grassroots donations. DDDB is holding its fifth annual fundraising Walkathon to raise money for the legal fight against Atlantic Yards this Saturday October 17th. For more information and to register for the Walkathon, please visit: http://www.dddb.net/walkathon.


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.
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