Rally in Albany Before Oral Argument in Atlantic Yards Case

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Press conference and rally @ 12:30pm

Academy Park (across the street from the court’s entrance)

Oral argument at 2pm, State of New York Court of Appeals

20 Eagle Street, Albany, New York

DDDB The New York State Court of Appeals – the state’s highest court – has agreed to hear the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case. Oral argument is scheduled for Wednesday, October 14, at 2pm, and Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) is holding a pre-hearing press conference and rally outside of the court in Albany. You’re invited!

This lawsuit is critical for all property owners and tenants in New York, as it will be the first time the New York Court of Appeals has addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo decision. It is very important that we show the court that New Yorkers care about their property rights and oppose the use of eminent domain for private gain.

For those in the Brooklyn area, DDDB has chartered a bus to Albany for the event. The bus will leave Brooklyn at 8:30am on October 14 and return after the argument. If you are interested in riding the bus, contact DDDB at contact@dddb.net or 718-362-4784. (Riders will be taken on a first come, first served basis.)

We need you to do three things right now:

  1. E-mail Christina Walsh at cwalsh@ij.org and let her know that you’ll be attending the rally and argument.
  2. Go to www.developdontdestroy.org and sign-up for their e-bulletin. Also, be sure to sign their petition at www.dddb.net/php/petition.php to show your support for the threatened Brooklyn property owners.
  3. E-mail this page to your friends and family, and let them know that property owners will finally have their day in New York’s high court.

This case presents the court with an opportunity to decide for the first time whether it will adopt the reasoning of the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Kelo v. City of New London, which allowed governments to take property from one person and give it to another simply in the name of “economic development.” The Court of Appeals will have to decide between rich, politically connected developers and the constitutional rights of property owners. Visit Develop Don’t Destroy – Brooklyn for more information.

Mayor Bloomberg’s friend Bruce Ratner has been trying for years to seize homes and businesses in the Atlantic Yards neighborhood of Brooklyn for his wildly unpopular mega-development, to include 16 skyscrapers and a new stadium for the Nets (the NBA team Ratner owns!) as originally conceived. But now no one really knows what the plan is because the developer is facing huge financial difficulties. According to the New York Post last week, "All the bells and whistles have been stripped from it – most notably ‘starchitect’ Frank Gehry and his expressionist building and arena designs – but the cost of developer Bruce Ratner’s controversial Atlantic Yards project has ballooned by nearly a billion dollars." Ratner still wants the government to seize properties from their rightful owners even though he has less than 20 percent of the financing for his nearly $5 billion project. Now, Ratner will face his day in court, when Daniel Goldstein and 8 other property owners will argue that this constitutes a blatant abuse of eminent domain for private development – one that the courts should stop.