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August 17, 2005



NEW YORK, NY — On March 3rd, 2005, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) publicly released a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)–an agreement and understanding among Forest City Ratner (FCR), the City and State of New York with respect to the development of a sports arena and mixed-use residential, commercial and retail development in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The agreement was dated February 18th, 2005.

What was not released was a second, secret MOU among the same parties, with the same agreement date. [emphasis added]

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesperson, Daniel Goldstein, said, "The whole Ratner deal has moved forward over the past two years in backrooms and with great secrecy. This unreleased second MOU raises serious questions about the developer's honesty as well as the transparency of the public parties and officials signed on to the agreement — the ESDC and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), represented by Charles Gargano, Daniel Doctoroff and Andrew Alper."

Goldstein continued, "This second MOU lays out plans for an even larger development, and more development rights, for Bruce Ratner than the public MOU. It agrees to a State takeover of this larger development plan, contingent on the approval of the plan outlined in the public MOU. Why has the City agreed to this? Also, if such an important document has been kept under wraps, why should we trust any of the information the public has seen from the developer and the public agencies? Is there any reason to believe the job projections, the revenue projections, the affordable housing claims or any other claims? The answer is no."

The second MOU, or "MOU 2," allows new development rights for FCR to develop millions more square feet over their Atlantic Center Mall and the PC Richards/Modell's mall (Site 5) at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. These sites are directly adjacent to the disclosed footprint of Ratner's proposed Brooklyn Atlantic Yards (BAY) project outlined in the public MOU. "MOU 2" also refers to a mysterious previous MOU from May 2004. It also provides for a state takeover of yet more acres in addition to the 21 acres in the public MOU. This would add more than one million square feet to what is already 8 million square feet of development in the BAY plan, and what is already an overburdened traffic intersection and public transportation hub.

Unlike the MOU on the West Side Stadium, the MTA is not a signatory to the Brooklyn MOU. It is not known if the MTA is aware "MOU 2."

Goldstein concluded, "We need some answers as to why the already massive Ratner plan has grown in size, and done so in secret agreements among FCR, the City and State. Clearly, much greater scrutiny needs to be brought to the Ratner proposal, by political officials, public interest groups, and the media. Why hasn't this second MOU been made public? What other secret deals have formed behind the scenes? It is this kind of misinformation and secrecy that leads to so much public skepticism about this developer's intentions and this development proposal."

The two documents, the public MOU (MOU 1) and the private MOU (MOU 2) can be found here: http://www.dddb.net/mou.

Mayor Bloomberg's press release about MOU 1, which makes no mention of MOU 2, can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/crb2u.

Posted by lumi at August 17, 2005 9:20 PM