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January 27, 2010

At another meeting on AY street closings, FCR's Marshall faces some tough questions from the crowd

Atlantic Yards Report

Apparently, Forest City Ratner's Marshall Plan didn't include answering questions they didn't want to answer.

Unlike the meeting January 21 regarding street closings for the Atlantic Yards footprint scheduled for February 1--where there was no representative from the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the consultant from Sam Schwartz Engineering (SSE) was a junior staffer--last night, at the 78th Precinct Community Council, the Forest City Ratner road show was at full strength.

And Forest City Ratner's Senior VP Jane Marshall found herself less la-di-da than at the earlier meeting, showing herself to be somewhat exasperated and even snippy regarding some tough questions that, to her and other meeting organizers, strayed from the narrow topic at hand.

(She's pictured at right with Sam Schwartz himself and SSE planner Daniel Schack. Photos and set by Tracy Collins.)

Then Michael White, the lawyer, urban planner, and blogger behind Noticing New York, got up. "Do you envision taking title before Mikhail Prokhorov is approved" as Nets majority owner, he said. "I believe your bond sale documents... say that if Prokhorov isn't approved, the deal essentially folds. And, as I understand, there are all these strange stories coming out of Russia about... attempted assassinations." (He was referring to the alleged plot against journalist John Helmer said to be associated with a company in which Prokhorov owns a minority interest.

"There are also the Forest City Ratner indictments in Yonkers," White said, referring to the Ridge Hill case, in which Forest City Ratner has been cited as "Developer No. 2" but not indicted. "I wonder if you would therefore postpone the taking."

"I don't think it has anything to do with the condemnation taking," Marshall responded. "This presentation is to answer questions about traffic. I would respectfully refer you to someone else."

White pressed on, asking if they'd take title before Prokhorov is approved.

"We believe that title will be passed on Friday," said Marshall, referring to a planned court hearing on condemnation.

"They will take title whether or not you know the arena can be constructed," White continued.

"We know the arena can be constructed," Marshall responded.

"Whether or not you know Prokhorov is going to be approved," White continued.

"Next question," Marshall said.


Posted by eric at January 27, 2010 11:57 AM