Eminent Domain Abuse on Hold in Brooklyn

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Good news today on the eminent domain front. As The New York Sun (RIP!) reports, a New York appellate court has rejected the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging its controversial Atlantic Yards development project in Brooklyn.

The whole mess stems from the state's use of eminent domain on behalf of developer Bruce Ratner, whose plans just happen to include a new basketball stadium for the Bruce Ratner-owned New Jersey Nets. Back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a previous Atlantic Yards case, Goldstein v. Pataki, which had challenged the eminent domain use on Fifth Amendment grounds. While the afflicted property owners were hardly thrilled at the High Court's refusal to take their case, lead attorney Matthew Brinckerhoff promised to take the fight to state court, declaring, "New York State law, and the state constitution, prohibit the government from taking private homes and businesses simply because a powerful developer demands it."

Today he scored his first victory. Here's hoping it isn't the last.

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  1. OK, but I still like the idea of seizing Souter’s home and erecting the Just Desserts Constitutional Cafe.

  2. Surely there’s some complex nuance here that we libertarians don’t understand. There must be an orphanage, or art space being built here that would justify it.

  3. Credit crunch so they are throwing one to the small boys?

  4. Amen, Talldave. Could I recommend a big slice of humble pie? It’s freshly baked in our own kitchen.

  5. I know I’ll lose my libertarian card for this, but I’m pretty indifferent on this case. I know Bruce Ratner is doing the Okie-doke with the arena, but what is getting ignored is that the footprint for the arena itself is under control. The issue is that there’s a bit of a pissing match between a wealthy developer and a bunch of Manhattanite gentrifying types. Personally, they can all go fuck themselves, but that’s just me.

  6. I’m sort of with Todd on this one. There have been no angels in New York real estate since Peter Minuit.

  7. “what is getting ignored is that the footprint for the arena itself is under control. ”

    uhm, Todd? That is incorrect the “holdouts” are in the arena footprint. and not a one of them are “Manahttanite gentrifying types.” And not only do you lose your libertarian card for this but your card for the basic understanding that if a constitutional right is violated it really doesn’t matter who is being violated by it.

  8. not a one of them are “Manahttanite gentrifying types.”

    They sure aren’t.

    The New York Sun (RIP!)

    What a shame. Sure it was mostly neo-con nonsense, but the local coverage was pretty good.

  9. Hey, look, there’s a separate post about The Sun.

  10. I sincerely hope that Bruce Ratner manages to buils a new b-ball arena in New York City without abusing eminent domain. New York deserves to have two extremely crappy basketball teams playing in the city limits.

    On a marginally related New York basketball note –

    The Detroit Shock scraped a 75-73 win over the New York Liberty on Monday to advance to the WNBA Finals for a third straight year.

  11. The issue is that there’s a bit of a pissing match between a wealthy developer and a bunch of Manhattanite gentrifying types. Personally, they can all go fuck themselves, but that’s just me.

    I would agree, if one of them wasn’t trying to get the state to the other one down for a good ass-raping.

  12. I like the use of guns as bullet points: perhaps the meme that government achieves everything it does through the threat of force or use of force is getting traction.

  13. The trouble with all the limitations on eminent domain is that the presumptions all lie on the side of the condemnation. Sure, if you can prove the action is intended for a purpose other than authorized by eminent domain law, you can scuttle it — but how do you do that?

  14. This is about 10 blocks north of me. The wave of gentrification was heading toward that area, but it didn’t manage to reach it before Ratner and the state prevented all further development and started tearing shit down. Now it’s a shitty mall surrounded by bombed out, half-demolished buildings.

    There’s a hilarious pro-Ratner video of Marty Markowitz, the borough president, driving with the camera pointed towards the rails site, saying, “Oh yeah, this is really worth saving.” But if they had turned the camera 180, they would’ve been looking at fifth avenue, which is a gorgeous, clean, upscale retail district.

    Not to mention, have sports arenas EVER raised the property values of the area around which they were built?

    The whole thing just pisses me off to no end.

  15. Now it’s a shitty mall surrounded by bombed out, half-demolished buildings.

    Yeah, whose bright idea was that thing, anyway? I guess it was (yet another) case of we’ll-take-what-we-can-get development, but sheesh.

  16. I thought I heard on an NYC radio station this morning that Ratner was having trouble nailing down the financing for the Atlantic Yards project, due to the credit crunch.

    Ahh. The Star-Ledger has an article about it.

    Kevin

  17. The Star-Ledger has an article about it.

    God damn, that project has so many side-deals and hidden terms, it stinks to high heaven.

  18. Not to mention, have sports arenas EVER raised the property values of the area around which they were built?

    The MCI (now Verizon) Center in D.C. was the centerpiece and initiating factor in the rebirth of our Chinatown district. It’s entirely different now from the pathetic condition it was in during the early ’90s. But it’s worth noting that Abe Pollin built that thing with his own money, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t use eminent domain to get the land, unlike that shitty baseball stadium deal for the Nationals.

  19. Ratner was having trouble nailing down the financing for the Atlantic Yards project, due to the credit crunch.
    Which makes me happy except for the fact that the entire area has been basically frozen in shit because of the seizure.

    In my completely uninformed opinion, that entire area would be redeveloped, or at least redeveloping, by now if not for the fact that no one is currently allowed to develop there besides Rat.

  20. Woulda. coulda, shoulda Dept.

    Atlantic Yards was where O’Malley wanted to build his domed (!) replacement for Ebbetts Field. That villain, Robert Moses, thwarted his idea.

    Kevin

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