September 27, 2007
In appellate court, AY renters' case finds little sympathy
Atlantic Yards Report
Norman Oder went to court yesterday to cover the case against the "friendly condemnations:"
Can the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), pursuing "friendly condemnations," override the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), which typically must grant permission to a landlord who wishes to demolish a building housing residential tenants with rent-stabilized leases?
The answer, not previously decided by the courts, appears more likely to be yes, allowing such "friendly condemnations," in which Forest City Ratner-owned buildings are transferred to ESDC ownership, thus ending the leases far more speedily than the process would occur under DHCR.
In May, State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub dismissed a challenge from 13 tenants (all but one rent-stabilized) in the Atlantic Yards footprint, saying that the case belonged instead in the appellate court designated to hear eminent domain determinations, but without the advantages to the plaintiffs of a trial.
Appealing Tolub's ruling to a different appellate court, the tenants, represented by attorney George Locker, found it tough going yesterday. A five-judge panel of Appellate Division, First Department was steadily skeptical of his argument that the tenants are not actually condemnees, with an ownership interest in their leases.
Posted by lumi at September 27, 2007 7:54 AM