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November 19, 2008

Chutzpah! FCR tried to evade paying $159K restitution for trees, saying (unscheduled) open space would compensate

Atlantic Yards Report

FoGazyWoodChipper.jpg

The story of Forest City Ratner's scorched-earth rush to cut down trees in the Atlantic Yards footprint is also a story of the company's penny-pinching. Imagine if Bruce Ratner wasn't a liberal do-gooder.

Preparing to demolish 86 street trees around the Atlantic Yards footprint, Forest City Ratner contended last year that it did not need to pay $159,000 in partial restitution to the city because the trees in the Atlantic Yards open space eventually would “add much more value than the trees that will be removed during construction.”

That argument required chutzpah, given that no part of the Atlantic Yards open space would be constructed until the project’s Phase 2, for which there is no announced timetable and no penalties (as of yet) for delays.

The city Department of Parks and Recreation, perhaps mindful of that timetable, held its ground, requiring the requested payment, and Forest City Ratner complied.

The story is told via letters received by the Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods (CBN), after filing a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request with the Parks department. The entire document is nearly 30 pages (PDF).

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Posted by eric at November 19, 2008 9:34 AM