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April 19, 2007

"The Odert Report"

By sifting through papers filed by developer Forest City Ratner and the project sponsor, the Empire State Development Corporation, in opposition to temporary restraining orders against demolitions in the footprint of the Atlantic Yards project, Norman Oder posted three items on Atlantic Yards Report that help deepen our understanding of several aspects of the fight over the Atlantic Yards project.

Forest City Ratner's $5.6 billion lie, in court papers, is attributed to ESDC
Norman Oder continues to reveal the origins of the $5.6-billion lie, especially after the figure showed up in an affadavit filed in court this week and was falsely attributed to the Empire State Development Corporation.

In the lawsuit over the Atlantic Yards environmental review, both plaintiffs and defendants are doing their best to cite relevant precedent and spin the case to their favor. But Forest City Ratner executive Jim Stuckey takes it one step further, in an affidavit claiming that the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) issued by the Empire State Development Corporation estimated that the project would generate $5.6 billion in new tax revenue and $4.4 billion in net tax revenue.

There's nothing of the sort in the FEIS. There's no total at all, nor is there an attempt to calculate net revenue, which subtracts costs.
Where does the $5.6 billion figure come from? Not from the ESDC, but from Forest City Ratner. And the methodology used to reach that number differs in two significant ways than the methodology used by the ESDC.

NoLandGrab: Is it bad to tell a lie about a false claim in an affidavit?

Would stay on demolitions unduly delay arena? FCR is already behind pace for 2009 opening

In court papers filed earlier this week opposing a temporary restraining order to block demolitions on the Atlantic Yards site, Forest City Ratner VP Jim Stuckey says the developer would face significant losses even over a few months—and that a delay would jeopardize the planned 2009 opening of the arena.

However, as lawyers for the plaintiffs point out, the developer “appears to already have virtually abandoned the construction schedule” published in the Atlantic Yards Final Environmental Impact Statement that would lead to a 2009 arena opening

Indeed, according to the schedule (from the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Chapter 17), demolition of buildings on blocks needed for the arena was to begin 11/1/06. This page was dated 7/10/06 yet included in the FEIS released 11/27/06. Click on the graphic below to enlarge, or go to the original PDF.

The demolition was to be completed by 7/2/07. However, several buildings in the arena footprint undoubtedly will remain enmeshed in litigation well beyond that date.

Affadavits filed by the developer explain that they are proceding based on a work-around, but Norman Oder notes, "However, the construction schedule is clear. Workaround or not, demolitions are to be completed by 7/2/07."

Delay demolitions? Not in public interest, say ESDC, FCR

The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) and developer Forest City Ratner (FCR) have responded forcefully to the lawsuit trying to invalidate the environmental review for the Atlantic Yards project.

In doing so, they argue against the temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by Atlantic Yards opponents and critics to block planned demolitions of some 15 properties owned by the developer, saying that it would not be in the public interest and that the chances of getting a preliminary injunction in court next month are low.

A decision on the TRO is expected by Friday. The preliminary papers filed this week will be followed up by more extensive legal arguments from both sides.

Posted by lumi at April 19, 2007 9:50 AM