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April 8, 2010

DDDB PRESS RELEASE: DDDB Files Motion Asking Court to Reconsider Case Against Atlantic Yards Project Approval

Motion Follows New Evidence New York State Intentionally Omitted From Legal Record

New York, New York— The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) held back the critical Atlantic Yards Development Agreement from the public and the legal record.

These key governing documents provide ample evidence that Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project would take at least 25 years to construct. ESDC did not release these documents to the public until after the January 19th oral argument in the case Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn (DDDB) and 19 community groups had brought to challenge the September 2009 ESDC approval of the project.

In light of this new information, today the community groups filed a motion requesting that the court reconsider its decision to deny the community groups' challenge.

They've asked the Court (New York State Supreme Court, New York County) to reconsider its March 10th ruling and to allow oral argument that considers the revealing information in the omitted documents.

The ruling on the original case—which challenged the ESDC's September 2009 approval the Modified General Project Plan—hinged on whether or not there was a rational basis for the ESDC to claim the project would take ten years.

In the ruling [PDF], the Court wrote:

"Under the limited standard of SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) review, the court is constrained to hold that ESDC's elaboration of its reasons for using the 10 year build-out was supported — albeit, in this court's opinion, only minimally — by the factors articulated by ESDC." (Emphasis added.)

The Court had no choice but to ignore the crucial Development Agreement documents that prove the project would take at least 25 years, because the ESDC had not made them part of the public record, and had not accurately reflected the elements of that agreement.

If, as the Court ruled, the ESDC's rationale was "only minimally" supported before, it would seem that that minimal support erodes entirely due to the facts subsequently revealed in the Atlantic Yards Development Agreement.


In the motion filed today, the petitioners' argue that "where the Court previously found that ESDC's rationale was only ‘minimally' supported, since one of the essential elements is demonstrably false, the Court should reconsider its decision in light of the new evidence."

The "demonstrably false" element is that ESDC did not obtain a commitment from Forest City Ratner to complete the project in ten years (2019) but, rather, signed an agreement that actually extends the completion of the project until at least 2035.

"We think the Court will recognize that the ESDC's argument, and therefore the ruling, was egregiously incomplete, lacking the essential document that worked against their entire rationale that the project would take ten years. Reconsideration of the case is necessary because of the self-contradicting and revealing information ESDC intentionally held back from the Court and the public," said Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn legal director Candace Carponter.

The motion papers can be found at: www.dddb.net/MGPPsuit.

Posted by eric at April 8, 2010 1:05 PM