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May 11, 2010

Oral argument postponed in case regarding call for new eminent domain findings; ESDC wants case moved to Brooklyn, says Gerges already decided issues

Atlantic Yards Report

Update: The case has been rescheduled for Tuesday, May 18 at 2:30 pm.

The last Atlantic Yards case to reach oral argument will be heard tomorrow May 18th; the issues include whether the belatedly-released Development Agreement can be formally added to the case and whether the case remains before a Manhattan judge already critical of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) or moved to a Brooklyn judge who has ruled without question in the ESDC's favor.

The case, known as Peter Williams Enterprises, et al., vs. New York State Urban Development Corporation (aka ESDC), will be heard [on May 18th] at 11 am 2:30 pm at 60 Centre Street, room 335, before Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman.

The Development Agreement

The plaintiffs argue that the ESDC should not have relied on the 2006 Determination and Findings (D&F) to exercise eminent domain but instead should have issued a new D&F describing the public use to be served by the project as of 2010, given that the Development Agreement, among other documents, points to a much longer buildout.

I previewed the arguments on 4/9/10 and covered the brief hearing on 4/12/10; as noted below, a major pending issue is whether the case should be moved to Kings County Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges, who already ruled against similar arguments in the effort to block condemnation, but didn't evaluate the Development Agreement.

As for the Development Agreement, Friedman is already considering it in motions to reopen a separate case challenging the legitimacy of the claimed ten-year buildout. She had ruled against the petitioners, two coalitions of community groups, but had refused to open the record to the Development Agreement, released in late January.

Even as construction proceeds on the arena, the fundamental question, to attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff (who represents petitioners in the D&F case), is whether the ESDC will succeed in its "bad faith attempt to conceal the true nature of the Atlantic Yards Project from Petitioners and the public at large until after the time to challenge it has expired."

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Posted by eric at May 11, 2010 12:34 PM