By Daniel Goldstein, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn

September 2, 2008

As the fight against Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project marks the start of its 6th year this fall (yes, sixth), numerous economic and fiscal difficulties plague the project as does litigation led by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn. In late July property owners and tenants in the project footprint began a lawsuit against the project’s use of eminent domain in NY State Court, challenging the project’s improper seizure of their homes and businesses under state law and the state constitution. (See: www.dddb.net/eminentdomain)

On July 7th, DDDB and 25 co-plaintiffs filed their appeal to a Supreme Court ruling against their suit challenging the environmental review and approval of Atlantic Yards. The appeal claims the lower court ruling was wrong and should be overturned. That appeal will be argued on September 17th, and a decision would be expected in December or January. (See www.dddb.net/FEIS/appeal)

DDDB is also considering further litigation regarding the increased cost of the arena from $637 million at approval in 2006 to its current cost of $1 billion. It is our position that because of this exorbitant increase, the Public Authorities Control Board needs to do a new approval of the project.

Meanwhile Forest City Ratner faces a daunting fiscal picture: a crashing real estate market, a credit crunch, a lack of available housing bonds the developer was banking on, and the possibility that the IRS will not grant tax-exempt bond financing for the arena (see: www.dddb.net/php/reading/IRS.php).

The economic morass we are all facing is hitting FCR hard, putting the project in jeopardy. Our local politicians, including stalwart opponents Letitia James and Velmanette Montgomery, as well as those with a more moderate position—Jim Brennan, Hakeem Jeffries, David Yassky, Bill de Blasio—have expressed serious concerns about whether the project should go forward considering that the developer has not confirmed he can build the project, including the so-called “affordable” housing.

DDDB continues to pursue all political and legal avenues to ensure that the community gets the responsible development it deserves over the rail yards (see www.unityplan.org), rather than FCR’s wrongheaded and destructive Atlantic Yards project. In our pursuit, the community’s financial backing and active assistance is essential. Your financial support has never been more crucial. To make a donation go to the dddb.net website. Contact DDDB at 718.362.4784 or email us at contact@dddb.net.

All legal papers filed can be found here: www.dddb.net/FEIS/appeal
A summary of the original complaint can be found at: www.dddb.net/FEIS/summary.php

If you haven't already contributed to DDDB to help pay for the costs of this appeal, it is not too late....go to http://dddb.net/php/donate.php and make a tax-deductible contribution!

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