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April 24, 2010

AY Report: Tabloid Mindset, Condemnation Hearing, Post Acts As Doofus,

The tabloid mindset: context regarding the Goldstein settlement is not taxpayer support for Ratner's purchases but the opinions of 2004 neighbors

Not long ago, I got a call from a tabloid reporter about a non-Atlantic Yards matter about which I had some expertise.

I told the reporter that the information they sought maybe wasn't the appropriate approach, that they should pursue a more complicated but incisive take on the case. I was ignored. The story line had already been set by an editor.

...

Not dissimilarly, both the New York Daily News and the New York Post thought the proper way to contextualize the settlement reached by Atlantic Yards condemnee Daniel Goldstein and Developer Forest City Ratner was to compare that settlement to ones made by Goldstein's neighbors in 2004.

(It was unmentioned that those settlements, unlike that of Goldstein, included full gag orders.)

Justice Gerges, "Atlantic Terminal," the ESDC's bad faith, and the side deals involved in "just compensation"

If anyone going to the hearing last Wednesday in Kings County Supreme Court thought Justice Abraham Gerges was going to look incisively into the Atlantic Yards condemnation case, there was a small but telling reason for doubt even before the hearing started.

Gerges referred to the case not as Atlantic Yards but Atlantic Terminal, just as he had at a 1/29/10 hearing in which those facing condemnation attempted to block it.

Atlantic Terminal refers to (take your pick) a longstanding urban renewal area (of which the Atlantic Yards site contains a part), a train terminal, and a mall, not a complicated and controversial development project.

Gerges's goal, apparently, was to ensure that the condemnation case was resolved that day, with no more expenditure of judicial resources nor the bad publicity of an actual eviction.

The New York Post claims that the state upped its offer to Goldstein (and kinda misses the rest of the story)

Of all the doofus coverage of the judge-pushed settlement in the condemnation case involving Daniel Goldstein, Adam Bonislawski's post in the New York Post real estate blog, headlined New York State not such a great negotiator actually tops the Times's CityRoom post about how Goldstein might move to places like New London, CT.

Wrote Bonislawski:

We were actually all set to write a sympathetic post about how Atlantic Yards holdout Daniel Goldstein was getting screwed by the state , which was lowballing him with a $510,000 offer on the 1,290-square-foot Prospect Heights condo he bought for $590,000 in 2003.

And, well, then this happened -- the state upped its offer to $3 million, an offer that Goldstein, not being insane, quickly agreed to. And while we're happy to see the whole business resolved, it does make us wonder if maybe the state is not so good at the whole bargaining thing, and if maybe this is part of why we pay so much in taxes. Seriously, how did those negotiations go?

State officials: We can offer you $510,000 for the apartment.

Goldstein: That's too low.

State officials: Ok. How about $3 million then?

Goldstein: Done!

State officials: Fantastic! [High-five]

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My comment:

Forest City Ratner funded the settlement, not the state. The developer has gotten $131 million already from taxpayers to buy $280 million worth of land. The developer claims it's losing $6.7 million a month from delays. So there was certainly some logic to paying $3 million, especially since it includes weakening the leading opposition group.

Posted by steve at April 24, 2010 8:55 AM