Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Atlantic Yards Eminent Domain Case Filed in State Court

August 4th, 2008 · No Comments

The Atlantic Yards eminent domain case, which the US Supreme Court declined to hear, has been filed in New York State Court, which is where a Federal Judge had said the case should be heard. Nine property owners and tenants filed the petition with the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court “seeking an order rejecting the Empire State Development Corporation’s (ESDC) findings and determination to seize their homes and businesses by eminent domain.” A release from Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Attorney Matthew Brinkerhoff says that the case will likely be heard in January 2009. The timetable would further delay any possible beginning to construction of Atlantic Yards, assuming a positive outcome for Forest City Ratner and the Empty State Development Corp. While many observers believe the state court will view the eminent domain case skeptically, DDDB lawyer Matthew Brinckerhoff is optimistic, saying in a statement, “New York Courts have a proud history of interpreting the New York Constitution as providing greater protections for individual rights than the federal constitution…We are confident that the court will see this for what it is: government officials bending to the will of Bruce Ratner, allowing him to wield the power of eminent domain for his personal financial benefit.”

The case alleges five claims against the ESDC’s taking of property including that it violates the Bill of Rights of the New York Constitution because “ESDC’s claims of public benefit are a pretext to justify a private taking” and that it violates due process because “The public process was a sham. The outcome was predetermined in a back room deal between Ratner, Pataki and Bloomberg.” The document can be found and downloaded here.

Tags: Atlantic Yards