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January 25, 2010

Homeless Family Advocates to Arrest Atlantic Yards/Barclays Center Developer Bruce Ratner

Will Bring Ratner to Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's Office for Indictment on Bribery Charges, Coumo Will Also Be Asked to Return All Campaign Contributions From Ratner and Indict By Friday, January 29th.

A communique from Freddy's defender Steve de Seve hit our in-box today. Here are the highlights.

A number of community groups, homeless advocates and political leaders will go to Bruce Ratner's office on Wednesday, January 27th at high noon to perform a citizen's arrest of Mr. Ratner. While we would rather arrest Ratner for the moral crime of closing a desperately needed family homeless shelter on Martin Luther King's birthday, and during Haiti relief efforts, we will instead be arresting him to stand charges of bribing a public official in the State of New York, where such activity is against the law. Our aim is to get the Pacific Dean Family Homeless Shelter re-opened until Spring. To this end we intend to see Ratner charged before this coming Friday's hearing that could give Ratner control of the facility, which he plans to tear down to make a parking lot for the Barclays Center stadium. This is possible because of a loophole created in New York State's eminent domain law by the Supreme Court's Kelo Case that allows states to take property from one person and give it to another. 43 states have changed their laws to prevent person-to-person transfer by the state, which is a type of eminent domain employed by the Soviet Union and wartime Germany, and which was illegal in the U.S. until 2005. We believe it is important that Judge Gerges, the man who will make the decision whether or not Ratner gets the shelter and the neighborhood, know what kind of heartless and shady person he is dealing with. The lack of an indictment by Attorney General Cuomo will have a clear influence on Friday's hearing, and it must be corrected.

Nobody is going to physically abduct Mr. Ratner. We are informing him that we expect him to surrender to a police officer, in our presence, and go with us to be charged by Attorney General Cuomo. We will also be asking the Attorney General, who is now running for Governor, to give back the campaign contributions he has received from Ratner so that there is no appearance of impropriety associated with the delay in bringing an indictment.

Should Ratner elude us we will request that a warrant be issued immediately for his arrest, and that he be extradited from any place in the world that he may choose to run to.

At Forest City Ratner's request an important family homeless shelter serving predominately African-American and Caribbean-American families was closed to make way for a parking lot for Ratner's Barclays Center stadium, which is part of his Atlantic Yards project.

The shelter was closed in the Winter, on Martin Luther King's actual birthday (January 15th), immediately following the earthquake in Haiti. An emergency rally was held the next day Freddy's Bar (Esquire's Best Bar of 2006), down the street from the shelter. The rally brought together pop star Crystal Waters, F.U.R.E.E. (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality), Picture the Homeless, the Dean Street Block Association, New York City Council member Letitia James, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, who pledged to put her body in front of the bulldozers should the shelter be torn down as planned. Ms. Waters closed the rally by singing her 1991 hit song, Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless). It quickly became a sing-a-long. Ratner, Barclays, and the state, whose ESDC is responsible for the eminent domain being used to close the shelter were given until the end of Martin Luther King weekend to re-open the facility.

A midnight vigil was held in front of the Pacific Dean Family Shelter on Martin Luther King Monday, to see if the Barclays Center Developer would reverse its request that resulted in the shelter closing before Spring when the weather is kinder to homeless families. There was no reply from Ratner, Barclays, or the Governor's office. And protesters vowed to keep fighting until the shelter is re-opened.

We are asking Attorney General Cuomo to give back campaign contributions he has received from Ratner and to indict him immediately.  And we are asking the public to come to Metrotech, where Ratner has his office at high noon on Wednesday to help apprehend the man responsible for the shelter closing, and to come to the Attorney General's office at 1pm to demand an indictment, a return of campaign contributions, and a promise not to accept any more money from Ratner.

When: Wednesday, January 27th 12:00 Noon, 2nd location at 1PM

Where: Forest City Ratner Headquarters, 1 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, NY

Who: Homeless Family Advocates as detailed in copy

Contact: Steve de Seve 917 330-6147

Posted by eric at January 25, 2010 8:18 PM