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BROOKLYN     Press Release Main Page

For Immediate Release: March 1, 2010

Judge Grants New York State Right to Seize Homes
By Eminent Domain for Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards Boondoggle

Outstanding Legal Issues Still Plague Atlantic Yards

Brooklyn, New York—A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge today, in an 80-page ruling, granted the Empire State Development Corporation's petition to take title ownership of the private properties—homes and businesses—in the footprint of developer Bruce Ratner's $5 billion Atlantic Yards boondoggle. The project consists of a proposed $1 billion money-losing arena and purportedly 15 skyscrapers though there are no renderings or models of anything other than the arena.

The property owners and tenants fighting for their rights will be considering all of their legal options in light of today's ruling. They also still have possession of their properties.

"Several overarching legal and financial issues still plague Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, meaning today's extreme measure by New York State to seize ownership of private property is premature," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn legal director Candace Carponter. "There are two pending cases, one just completed briefing, and the other is awaiting a judicial ruling. Either would stop Atlantic Yards dead in its tracks and could impact today's ruling."

"Today is a very sad day to be a Brooklynite. Our state government, long mired in corruption and scandal, has bent over backwards to give Bruce Ratner whatever he wants, including my home, and the homes of other citizens. I am angry with our so-called political leaders who proudly stand by their abuse of power," said Daniel Goldstein a spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and a homeowner targeted by New York's abuse of eminent domain for Ratner's benefit. "When the most powerful forces in state government collude with the real estate industry, injustices will happen, and today is a result of that."

"But should we win or lose the fight against Atlantic Yards, there is a bright spot. We are on the road to overturning New York's atrocious and abusive eminent domain laws. Senator Bill Perkins’ proposed legislation will  bring much-needed reform to these laws that afford no meaningful protections to communities attacked by greedy developers and their political cronies.

The abuse of eminent domain must not happen again; Senator Perkins' bill to redefine 'blight' and reform eminent domain must be passed. 

I call on my fellow citizens and elected officials across the city and state who believe that government abuse of power must be reined in, that government theft of property on the slimmest of pretexts has got to stop, to actively support Senator Perkins' bill.

And when it passes, it will be one of the legacies of the stance I and so many others have taken against the Atlantic Yards abuses, and the stand other citizens have taken in West Harlem, Willets Point, Downtown Brooklyn, East Harlem, Port Chester, Syracuse and so many other cities and neighborhoods across the State of New York."

The judge's decision to transfer ownership of the properties to Bruce Ratner comes after more than six years of a long legal battle with owners and tenants opposing what most experts agree is an abuse of eminent domain in a state that has the worst eminent domain laws in the country

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.