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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page


For Immediate Release: December 23, 2009

Governor Paterson Allows ESDC To
Move Forward With Illusory Atlantic Yards and
Eminent Domain Home & Business Theft
Two Days Before XMAS

Despite “Master Closing”
Big Legal Challenges Against Project Remain


BROOKLYN, NEW YORK—Even foreclosing banks and unpaid landlords provide a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for the holiday month.

However, not Governor Paterson and the State of New York.

Without compunction, Governor Paterson and his appointees on the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) today filed legal papers to start the process of stealing the homes and businesses of Brooklynites by eminent domain, to eventually evict them and give the vacant buildings to Bruce Ratner for one dollar. Ratner would then demolish those homes and businesses in an effort to construct a taxpayer subsidized, money-losing arena—the world’s most expensive arena, Barclays Center—in the middle of a fiscal crisis and a housing crisis. 

Forest City Ratner also announced that they have signed a “master closing” for the Atlantic Yards project with various city and state agencies. But Ratner failed to disclose that he was forced to put the closing and arena bond proceeds  into escrow because of numerous outstanding issues, including several serious legal challenges.

The property owners and tenants fighting to keep their homes and business will vigorously challenge the legal papers filed by the ESDC today. 

There are also two outstanding lawsuits against the project that would stop it cold (with oral argument scheduled for January 15th) and one pending decision by the Court of Appeals on a motion to reargue the challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain in light of the recent eminent domain decision against Columbia University.

Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is also currently planning on suing, most likely the ESDC and the mysterious Brooklyn Arena Local Development Corporation, for bypassing the legally mandated review of the $511 million arena bond financing by the Public Authorities Control Board and New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

“Governor Paterson, who once opposed eminent domain, has clearly decided that the best thing to do for the holidays is to evict men, women and children from  their homes. He has decided that the avoidance of minimal scrutiny and review of the largest project in Brooklyn’s history is an acceptable way to govern. He has decided that reform apparently means allowing and supporting the same old bad faith, backdoor dealing with powerful, land-grabbing real estate developers,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “Shame on Governor Paterson for throwing good money—taxpayer money—at Ratner’s boondoggle money pit and for stealing a viable neighborhood to do it. Ratner’s project will never produce the benefits the developer and the ESDC have lied about for years, and should it go forward the Governor and other project supporters will rue this day.”

“I want to make it very clear to the Governor, the ESDC and Ratner, that Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, our scores of allied community organizations and our thousands of supporters will not easily give up our fight against Atlantic Yards,” Goldstein said.

It should be noted that there is not a single city or state politician in and around the Atlantic Yards project site that still supports the drastically altered project. And there are none anywhere, besides project cheerleaders Marty Markowitz and Michael Bloomberg, who vocally support it.

After six years of exposing the Atlantic Yards project as a corrupt, boondoggle financed on the backs of New York taxpayers, Governor Paterson, Mayor Bloomberg, Sheldon Silver, Charles Schumer, and Marty Markowitz apparently have decided that the best thing for New Yorkers is to look the other way as state and city appointed bureaucrats sign papers handing over 22-acres of prime real estate to a single developer to turn into massive parking lots for decades.

The most powerful “leaders” in the state have apparently decided that the best way to change the face of Brooklyn—the best way to spend massive taxpayer subsidies, grant extraordinary tax breaks and gifts, sell public land at a sweetheart price, give away city streets, abuse eminent domain, provide a city zoning override, create millions of square feet of density for free for a politically-connected developer—is to do it without ever having any legislative, democratic oversight, and to avoid even the minimal oversight and accountability provided by the financial review of State Comptroller DiNapoli and the Public Authorities Control Board.



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 4,500 individual donors from the community.
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