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April 21, 2010

BREAKING: Last holdout accepts Ratner’s $3M! He’s out of footprint by May 7

The Brooklyn Paper
by Stephen Brown

Daniel Goldstein, who has led and personified the fight to stop Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards boondoggle, has today accepted an offer to vacate his home — really the only option that New York State had left him.


Daniel Goldstein is now the $3-million man.

After nearly seven years of steadfast opposition to Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards — a personal and political protest that made him the last resident of the project footprint — Goldstein accepted the lucrative offer on Wednesday and will leave the project’s footprint by May 7.

The move comes after he was left with no other options once the state condemned his Pacific Street property via eminent domain last month.

He said he was relieved, but still personally affronted by the $4-billion mega-project — the subject of years of protest and more than a dozen lawsuits.

“If I’m going to be forced out of my home in quick measure, I’m going to be paid for it,” he said. “Of course, I would rather the neighborhood be restored.”

But Goldstein’s big payday came with caveats — which also apply to his wife.

• He must withdraw from all lawsuits and not file any others against the Atlantic Yards project.

• He cannot actively oppose the project — or as Goldstein explained it, “I can’t lie down in front of the bulldozers, which I wasn’t going to do anyway.”

• He can no longer be the spokesman of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, but will remain a member.

Goldstein’s lawyer, Mike Rikon, explained that the sticking point of during two hours of negotiations on Wednesday in the chambers of Justice Abraham Gerges in Downtown was Ratner’s demand that Goldstein relinquish his right to speak out against the project.

In the end, Ratner backed down because “[Goldstein] would have walked away from any offer if he lost his First Amendment rights,” Rikon said.

The Goldstein deal comes only two days after project opponents lost their main watering hole, when Freddy’s Bar at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue announced it would be moving to Park Slope after making its own deal with Ratner.

If Freddy’s was the “war room” for opponents, Goldstein was their general — an articulate spokesman and behind-the-scenes player who helped orchestrate numerous protests and legal challenges to the Atlantic Yards.


NoLandGrab: Proponents of Atlantic Yards will surely seize upon the settlement to hurl yet more nasty invective in Daniel Goldstein's direction. But to the very end, his fight has been one deeply rooted in principle, and with the state having been given the legal green light to take his home, the responsible thing to do was to look out for his family's future. Certainly, they'd much prefer for their home to be theirs, and not Bruce Ratner's.

Additional coverage...

City Room, Daniel Goldstein, Last Atlantic Yards Holdout, Leaves for $3 Million

The last man standing in front of the Atlantic Yards bulldozer has stepped aside.

Daniel Goldstein — founder of the anti-Atlantic Yards group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn and plaintiff in numerous unsuccessful suits against the $4.9 billion project — has reached an agreement with the project’s developer, Forest City Ratner, to move out of his condo on Pacific Street in Prospect Heights.

The release from Forest City was short on specifics and did not even speak Mr. Goldstein’s name.

“We are not going to discuss the details of the agreement,” Joe DePlasco, a spokesman for the developer, said in the statement. “Forest City Ratner has from the start worked very hard to compensate and to assist residents who owned or rented homes in the footprint. They made that commitment at the start of the project over six years ago and today are very pleased that as construction is in full force they were able to accomplish that goal.”

Yeah, right.

Michael Galinsky, a filmmaker who has been making a documentary about Mr. Goldstein and Atlantic Yards called “Battle of Brooklyn,” said that “to not have made some kind of agreement at this point would have been irresponsible.”

He added: “It was either move out in two weeks, or move out in two months and take what the state offered.”

NY Daily News, Last Atlantic Yards hold-out Daniel Goldstein folds; makes $3M deal with Ratner to leave apartment

As part of the agreement, Goldstein and his family will move out of their apartment by May 7.

They had been facing eviction on May 17 after the state took the property through eminent domain.

The state had initially offered Goldstein $510,000 for the apartment that he bought in 2003 for $590,000.

NY Post, Last Atlantic Yards holdout cuts $3M deal to go

There’s no longer anyone standing in the way of the Nets coming to Brooklyn.

Daniel Goldstein -- the public face of an opposition group that nearly killed Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards project through mounting litigation and the project's last holdout – reached a deal today to sell his to Prospect Heights condo to developer Bruce Ratner for a cool $3 million, sources told the Post.

NLG: Bill Pascrell is one person still standing in the way.

NY Observer, Final Atlantic Yards Holdout, Daniel Goldstein, Sells to Ratner for $3 M

For more than three years, Daniel Goldstein has lived with no neighbors.

A passerby to his 31-unit building at 636 Pacific Street every night will see just one apartment light on, surrounded by a sea of black windows that stand in the footprint for a new arena for the New Jersey Nets. Condo board meetings consist of himself and executives with Forest City Ratner, the developer trying to build the arena that bought out the rest of his building.

And for half a decade, he has been the face of opposition to Bruce Ratner and his planned $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards project, protesting every step of the way, pointing out flaws with every step of the project, and working with other opponents to file lawsuit after lawsuit to stop the development.

Today, he is a holdout no longer.

He may still remain a member of DDDB and say what he likes about the project, a point he held strong on in negotiations, according to his attorney, Micheal Rikon.

"He is allowed to make any statements that he wants and exercise his First Amendment rights—which was, believe it or not, a key point in the final negotiations," Mr. Rikon said. "He was perfectly willing to walk away from the settlement if it meant stopping him from expressing his opinions."

WNYC Radio, Last Atlantic Yards Hold Out Agrees to Move

Daniel Goldstein was a website designer when he moved into a converted warehouse in Prospect Heights. That was just months before one of the largest developers in the city, Forest City Ratner, announced that it wanted to build a $4 billion, 22-acre complex on the site. Goldstein's apartment would be somewhere in the seats of the basketball arena. He refused to sell, and became the voice and force of the opposition. Goldstein founded the group Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, which filed several lawsuits to halt the project.

In February, the state won title to his apartment. He reached a final agreement to move during a break in a court proceeding that would've set his date for his eviction.

Posted by eric at April 21, 2010 5:10 PM