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October 19, 2009

Suit du Jour News Round-Up

NY Observer, Another Lawsuit On Atlantic Yards as Financing Clock Ticks

Once again, there's a new lawsuit seeking to stop Atlantic Yards.

On Monday morning, a series of Brooklyn neighborhood and community groups announced they had filed a suit challenging the approval of the $4.9 billion mega-project, an action that comes as the clock ticks ever closer to a Dec. 31 financing deadline that developer Forest City Ratner must meet.

The lawsuit--which challenges the approval process when the state re-approved a modified version of the project in September--is now the fifth major suit brought or organized by the main group opposing the plan, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn. There have been two eminent domain suits, the second of which was heard at the state's top court last week; an environmental review lawsuit; and a recently filed lawsuit challenging the re-approval by the M.T.A., which owns much of the site.

WNYC Radio, Opponents File Another Lawsuit Against Atlantic Yards Project

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn and 19 other Brooklyn groups say the latest agreement between the state and developer Forest City Ratner will keep at least some of the footprint in a blighted state for 20 years or more, as it allows Ratner to purchase the land parcel-by-parcel over that time.

The state's highest court is considering whether to accept a challenge by many of the same plaintiffs to the original deal.

Attorney Jeff Baker filed both lawsuits. "This deal's even worse because there's far less assurance that the negligible benefits that were supposed to come from this project will ever happen at all," Baker says.

A spokesperson for the state's economic development agency says officials expect construction will take only 10 years.

NoLandGrab: "Officials" are either sadly mistaken — or lying.

Curbed, Atlantic Yards Lawsuit Tally Update

It's official: Atlantic Yards now has more lawsuits than the Nets have season ticket holders. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn has brought its fifth suit against the project, calling a do-over on the state's environmental review of the site because the Atlantic Yards plans have changed so much since they were first proposed.

Crain's NY Business, Community groups sue to block Atlantic Yards

Allegations in the suit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday include charges that the ESDC failed to conduct another environment impact study of the 22-acre site as required after the deal was revised. It also includes allegations that the ESDC backed off its requirement to have Forest City build affordable housing within the project.

Reuters, Troubled Atlantic Yards project hit with new lawsuit

The ESDC, developer Bruce Ratner and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have spent six years pursuing the project which has been dogged by legal disputes, financing problems and vocal opposition from community groups and landowners.

The latest suit argues that the ESDC has illegally abandoned the statutorily mandated purpose of the project -- the removal of blight from the area.

That's after the terms of the deal were revised in June to offer sweeter terms to Ratner. Ratner had agreed in 2005 to buy the 22-acre rail yard for $100 million in cash at the time of closing. But the cash-hungry MTA is allowing him to pay just $20 million on closing and the remaining $80 million over 22 year. That will ensure the blight conditions will not be alleviated until well after 2030, the suit said.

NetsAreScorching, ANOTHER LAWSUIT COULD BLOCK BROOKLYN MOVE

Opponents of the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, the proposed site that would contain a new arena for the Nets, filed another lawsuit today at the State of New York Supreme Court designed to sink the project once and for all.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Never-Ending Atlantic Yards Litigation Continues

Never-ending lawsuits, perhaps not. But opponents of Atlantic Yards filed another lawsuit Monday — the second in less than a week.
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Back in May, DDDB’s legal director told the Eagle that DDDB and its supporters had about a half-dozen potential lawsuits they could file in addition to the various lawsuits that were already pending over the Atlantic Yards project.

“Can we bring other challenges? Absolutely,” Candace Carponter had said. “And we will.” Carponter added that, “It just depends on who’s got more stamina” — making it clear that DDDB and Atlantic Yards opponents will not stop suing anytime soon.
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However, considering the expansive amount of litigation that is pending and the additional lawsuits that could come (i.e., a taxpayer suit), legal experts wonder if Atlantic Yards construction will begin by the end of the year, as promised. If not, it would be one of many promised timeline goals that have not been met by the developer.

Posted by eric at October 19, 2009 4:50 PM