Release Main Page
For Immediate Release: November 24, 2009
Constrained Court Rules Against
Property Owners and Tenants in
Atlantic Yards Eminent Domain Case
Despite Ruling, Fight Against
Ratner's Brooklyn Project Is Far From Over
BROOKLYN, NY — New York's high court ruled today against property owners and tenants who had challenged the state's use of eminent domain to seize their homes and businesses for the enrichment of developer Bruce Ratner and his Atlantic Yards project in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
In the 6-1 decision the Court of Appeals ruled
that the state agency's determination to take the plaintiffs property had a rational
basis under state law.
Today, November 24, at 12:30pm plaintiffs, Develop Don't Destroy
Brooklyn, members of the community, attorneys and elected officials will hold
a press conference about the ruling and the fight against Atlantic
Yards. The press conference will be held in front of Freddy's Bar in Brooklyn
at 485 Dean Street at the corner of 6th Avenue. (Directions,
2/3 train to Bergen St, or B,D,Q,N,4,5 to Pacific/Atlantic.)
"The fight against the Atlantic Yards project is far from over.
The community has four outstanding lawsuits against the project and, meanwhile,
the arena bond financing clock ticks louder and louder for Ratner. While this
is a terrible day for taxpaying homeowners in New York, this is not the end of
our fight to keep the government from stealing our homes and businesses,” said
Develop Don't Destroy spokesman and lead plaintiff Daniel Goldstein. "Governor
Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg now need to decide if they want their legacy to be
the next New
London—a dust bowl in the heart of Brooklyn caused by the abuse of eminent
domain, because that will be the outcome if they allow the property seizures and
final clearance for Ratner's unfeasible project."
"We are disappointed, but undeterred. We lost this round, but the legal fight
is not over. My clients will continue to resist Ratner's efforts to steal their
homes and businesses in the New York courts," said lead attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff
of Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady. "Because the Court of Appeals made
it clear that it considered itself 'bound' by the self-serving record created
by the Empire State Development Corporation prior to its December 2006 public
use finding, and thus refused to consider the events leading up to the ESDC's
adoption of a modified general project plan two months ago, we now intend to commence
a new lawsuit seeking to compel the ESDC to issue new or amended public use findings.
It would be perverse and unfair if my clients homes and businesses were confiscated
based on circumstances that no longer exist. At the same time, we
will also vigorously defend the cases that the State will now file seeking to
seize my clients' properties, which is the second barrier that Ratner and the
ESDC must now attempt to overcome."
"While we are deeply disappointed in the Court's decision, our fight against the
government's abuses on Ratner's behalf continues, and we expect to defeat Atlantic
Yards through political and legal means", said Develop Don't Destroy legal director
Candace Carponter. "It now falls to Governor Paterson to guarantee, through
a binding legal contract, which the State would be required to enforce, that all
the developer's promises about the project—including all of the ‘affordable' housing
and the ten year construction timeline—are fulfilled. If the Governor is unable
to do that, he is duty-bound to abandon this ill-fated project, and start over
so the rail yards can be developed properly and realistically."
In 2005, in the wake of the Supreme Court's widely despised Kelo decision that
expanded the reach of eminent domain, then-Senator
David Paterson called for a state-wide blanket moratorium on the use of eminent
"Governor Paterson needs to ask himself what happened to Senator Paterson's position on eminent domain. And then he needs to act on his principles," Carponter concluded.
DEVELOP DON'T DESTROY BROOKLYN leads a broad-based community
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.