For the past six years, filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinksy have been working on a documentary called Battle of Brooklyn, which tells the story of a group of Brooklyn, New York property owners who have been fighting state and local officials who want to seize their land on behalf of real estate developer Bruce Ratner. In response to the ongoing ACORN scandal and recent reports discussing ACORN's ties to the Ratner development, the filmmakers have released a fascinating and highly relevent scene from their forthcoming documentary. From their description:
This scene comes about 40 minutes into the film. By this point the audience has witnessed the announcement of the project as well as growing community opposition to it. In addition, the vast majority of condo owners in the footprint of the proposed project have sold their apartments to the developer in order to avoid having them seized via eminent domain. The main character of the film, Daniel Goldstein, has refused to sell and has become one of the main organizers trying to stop it.
In this scene, Daniel attends a press conference announcing an agreement reached between Acorn and Forest City Ratner--in which the developer has agreed to make half of the units in the proposed project "affordable". Further, it is agreed that Acorn will be involved in monitoring the project as well as marketing the "affordable" units. For this work they will be paid.
At the press conference on May 19th, 2005 Bertha Lewis, the head of NY ACORN (currently the head of the national organization), declares that ACORN is working with the current tenants to make sure that they are not pushed out and treated fairly by the developer. Answering a question she further states that there will be apartments set aside for those displaced by the project.
After the event, Daniel Goldstein confronts her with the fact that tenants are already being pushed out. She admits that ACORN hasn't actually talked to any of the tenants yet. She then argues that the developer has nothing to do with greedy landlords forcing out tenants before they buy the property.