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June 14, 2007

Case Dismissed: Yards Lawsuit Tossed by Judge

Brooklyn Downtown Star

Norman Oder recaps his coverage of last week's dismissal of the Atlantic Yards federal eminent domain lawsuit by Judge Garaufis:

The opposition to the Atlantic Yards project suffered a significant setback on June 6, when U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, in an emphatic yet potentially questionable decision, dismissed Goldstein v. Pataki, the federal lawsuit filed by 13 property owners and renters challenging eminent domain at the Prospect Heights site.

Notably, Garaufis ruled that even if public benefits-including new tax revenues, housing, jobs, and the elimination of blight-are less than promised, they're sufficient to overcome allegations that the 22-acre, 16-tower, one-arena project is a sweetheart deal benefiting developer Forest City Ratner.

"Because Plaintiffs concede that the Project will create large quantities of housing and office space, as well as a sports arena, in an area that is mostly blighted, Plaintiffs' allegations, if proven, would not permit a reasonable juror to conclude that the 'sole purpose' of the Project is to confer a private benefit," Garaufis wrote. "Neither would those allegations permit a reasonable juror to conclude that the purposes offered in support of the Project are 'mere pretexts' for an actual purpose to confer a private benefit on FCRC."

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Posted by lumi at June 14, 2007 8:44 AM