« AY approved by PACB in five minutes | Main | Silver Bails »

December 20, 2006

DDDB PRESS RELEASE: Done Deal? The Judiciary Will Decide

Fate of Atlantic Yards To Be Determined by the Courts
PACB Approves Atlantic Yards Despite Utter Lack of Public Financial Disclosure

BROOKLYN, NY—Despite an overwhelming number of calls from the four Assemblymembers representing the Atlantic Yards project site and surrounding districts, City Councilmembers, community organizations and good-government groups from all corners for the PACB to postpone its vote and take the necessary time to do its due diligence concerning the utter lack of financial disclosure about Atlantic Yards, Albany’s three men in a room approved the project today.

However, with a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project already in court, and a legal challenge to the project’s flawed environmental impact study looming, the viability of the largest sole-sourced project in New York’s history will ultimately be determined by federal and state courts.

“The federal eminent domain lawsuit brought by citizens protecting their constitutional rights is rock-solid, and without those plaintiffs’ properties, Atlantic Yards as we know it an arena studded with 16 outmoded superblock towers cannot be built,” said Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) spokesman Daniel Goldstein. “Except for a few courageous and principled elected officials, the fix has been in for a long time on Atlantic Yards. Today’s vote is no surprise. The surprise for the PACB, the ESDC, Mr. Ratner and his supporters is that the constitutionality and legality of their illegitimate project has yet to be proved. Fortunately, we still have three branches of government.”

It was not until late Tuesday that the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) representatives received “some” of the financial documents that had been denied through Freedom of Information requests and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s recent subpoena of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), the project’s state sponsor. Those documents have yet to be made public. The PACB still has not received a full accounting of the true public cost of the project or a realistic projection of the project’s new net revenue for the city and state. Additionally, financial terms, guarantees and penalties for non-compliance for the subsidized housing a key component of the project have yet to be negotiated.

"The approvals by ESDC represent egregious violations of multiple state laws and the public trust. While Mr. Gargano may claim there has been extensive public review the facts show otherwise,” said DDDB attorney Jeffrey S. Baker of Albany based Young, Sommer, Ward, Ritzenberg, Wooley, Baker & Moore. “The New Yorkers whose trust was betrayed by the Governor, Mayor and Mr. Gargano will now place their trust in the courts to assure that the laws are followed and this project is sent back for the review that was required.”

Just last month, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who controls one of three PACB votes, called ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano “the most corrupt member of the Pataki Administration.” Notwithstanding that vitriol, Speaker Silver fast-tracked Atlantic Yards, despite the fact that the PACB had only about twelve hours to review deficient and complicated financial information.

“Democracy in New York State took another step into the grave today with this misguided decision. Who indeed is Mr. Silver representing when he completely ignores his members?” asked Goldstein. “’Day one’ is just around the corner, and we look to incoming Governor Spitzer to make sure that everything truly will be different.”

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


Posted by lumi at December 20, 2006 6:40 PM