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September 23, 2009

ACORN Forest City Ratner and the Atlantic Yards


Wait a minute, that's not an ACORN worker advising a pimp — it's ACORN Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis and Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn's Daniel Goldstein!

Filmmaker Michael Galinsky, whose documentary film Battle of Brooklyn will tell the story of the epic Atlantic Yards battle, explains.

With the recent brouhaha over ACORN exploding into the press, and bleeding over into the issue of the Atlantic Yards we thought it was relevant to post a scene from our upcoming film that sheds some light on the relationship between, ACORN, the developer, and the community surrounding the Atlantic Yards project.

At the press conference on May 19th, 2005 Bertha Lewis, the head of NY ACORN (currently the head of the national organization), declares that ACORN is working with the current tenants to make sure that they are not pushed out and treated fairly by the developer. Answering a question she further states that there will be apartments set aside for those displaced by the project.

After the event, Daniel Goldstein confronts her with the fact that tenants are already being pushed out. She admits that ACORN hasn’t actually talked to any of the tenants yet. She then argues that the developer has nothing to do with greedy landlords forcing out tenants before they buy the property.

This is not a gotcha moment, but instead a small part of a complex tale. We feel that it is relevant to follow up on published reports that call into question the relationship between the developer and ACORN. At issue is the fact that the developer gave a $500,000 grant and $1,000,000 low interest loan to ACORN in the midst of a previous scandal when many long time donors refused to continue supporting them. The financial relationship between the developer and the community group calls into question this arrangement.


Posted by eric at September 23, 2009 11:15 AM