Property Rights

Eminent Domain Abuse Finally Forces Daniel Goldstein Out

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Daniel Goldstein, marshalling the crowd at the Atlantic Yards "groundtaking" ceremony.

Daniel Goldstein, the Brooklyn homeowner who has led the fight against New York's despicable eminent domain abuse in the Atlantic Yards case, reached a settlement yesterday with the Empire State Development Corporation and will vacate his home by May 7th in exchange for $3 million. Here's part of the statement that Goldstein issued today:

On March 1st, after years of litigation, ESDC took title ownership of my home. From that day on, I no longer owned my apartment but instead became a tenant of the State.

At that time, with that action on Ratner's behalf, there was nothing I could any longer personally do with my home that would stop or impact the project. Staying in my home until the sheriff came to evict my wife, child and I would have accomplished nothing at all for the fight but would have severely harmed us.

After March 1st, it was inevitable that we would be forced out; it was just a matter of when.

On April 9th ESDC filed papers requesting that the court evict me on May 17th. Wednesday morning my attorney argued that the court should not grant that eviction. After the argument, Judge Gerges made it crystal clear that he wanted resolution between me and ESDC/Ratner—that day—as to when I'd leave my home.

So instead of being evicted in about 27 days and then being forced to go to court to hope to get close to fair market value for my home (as opposed to the extremely lowball "just compensation" offered to me by New York State, which was nowhere near fair market value), I agreed to leave in about 17 days. That agreement to leave ten days sooner avoids further litigation over "just compensation," which would have cost me more time and money while accomplishing nothing for the fight against the project.

I did not sell my home today. I had no home to sell as the state took my home on March 1st. Contrary to what Ratner and ESDC might want people to believe, eminent domain was used on me and many others. My home was seized by the government to give to a private developer.

What I did do was agree to leave my home rather quickly in return for a payment. What I did do was what I needed to do as a responsible husband and father to make sure that my family could make an orderly transition to a new home in Brooklyn. I was left with no good choice by the ESDC or Judge Gerges.

I have always promised that once the legal options to save my home and the homes and businesses of my neighbors were extinguished, I would have to turn my attention to what was best for my family, after years of neglecting our interests. That is what I did on Wednesday.

You can read the full statement here.

Much like the news that Freddy's Bar is closing at the end of the month, this is sad but not really shocking. These folks were up against an atrocious Supreme Court precedent, the state and city of New York, and a corrupt and politically-connected real estate tycoon. Thanks to their long battle, this shameless case of eminent domain abuse got some of the scrutiny that it deserves.

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  1. May Bruce Ratner die a horrible, painful death. Soon.

  2. I’m sure some people will criticize Goldstein for taking the $3 million. I don’t. Good for him for getting as much as he could, considering he fought the good fight, but sadly lost. You can lose and have nothing, or you can lose and still get something, and that something should help his family and maybe even help others in future grabs get more than blight value.

    1. I’m sorry, but I will. What we had is a couple of guys engaged in a pissing contest. One was a developer who decided to abuse the power of eminent domain to play hardball in real estate negotiations. The other was someone who was a studio libertarian holding out for a check that turned out to be three times what his neighbors got for moving out. Fuck both of them. Besides, Daniel Goldstein is now financially comfortable because he played a bunch of people for fools. There is no winner here, only the presence of a couple of losers.

      1. If Ratner is wrong (and he is) then there is no amount that it would be inappropriate for Goldstein to get. No limit except what a willing buyer would agree to pay.

        Because he owned the property, and that makes it his sole discretion when to sell.

        1. Um, despite the legal niceties used by Goldstein, he sold the place for $3 million. If this were about principle, he could have dragged this out in the courts, but as soon as the check was high enough, he rolled out. That doesn’t make Ratner right, but it does make Goldstein wrong.

          1. In a word: bullshit.

            If you want to characterize this as a willing transaction then there is no way Goldstein can be wrong: if it was a willing transaction both parties are happier now that when they started and everything is sunshine, roses, and ponies.

            ‘Course, what we really have here is another variation on “Nice apartment, ‘ya got here….be a real shame if anything happened to it. Real shame.”

            Just like with Kelo.

      2. Well put Todd.
        There is no principle here, only blind hunger for money.

        Beware of an economy where the money no longer represents production of useful goods.

  3. 3 million? I sure wish I could have property seized by the government. This guy made out like a bandit. Any excuse to whine will do, I suppose.

    1. Your just pissed ’cause you’ve been whining for free all these years.

    2. so you think Ratner was paying above market prices? pretty stupid to use eminent domain if you’re paying too much isn’t it?

      1. That’s why it should be left up to a judge.

    3. That is exactly what Ratner wants you to think, Dan T. That’s why he payed Goldstein such a large sum of money.

      Does anyone think Ratner cares about getting the property ten days early? No, he just wants to make Goldstein irrelevant to the argument.

  4. “Empire State” is very appropriate.

  5. The NPR report this morning closed by saying the moral of this story is “good things come to those that wait.”

    Seriously

  6. Bloomberg had the same spin. Maybe it was CNBC. I flip back and forth on my commute.

  7. The important thing is that Bloomberg and Ratfuck will have a nice place to hang out on winter evenings, as they plot their next heist.

  8. Who pays Goldstein’s legal fees?

    Three million probably isn’t enough.

  9. I heard that too, aaron. It made me say some angry cusses.

    If they were referring to Goldstein holding out for the $3 mil, that’s the kind of crassness and disrespect i’d expect from Hit’n’Run, but certainly not from NPR.

    If they were referring to Ratner getting his real estate, then, well, fuck NPR.

    1. Oh, they were definitely referring to Goldstein’s “windfall.”

  10. I sure wish I could have property seized by the government.

    I wish that would happen to you, too, so some billionaire can build a sports stadium without having to negotiate with you himself.

    I kid, of course, because that would hit your neighbors, too, and don’t they suffer enough from having to live near you?

    1. The smell alone is already a living hell.

  11. Ratner, the Nets, even NYC should be boycotted by all decent people. I hope Ed Snider, owner of the 76ers and a big shot in Objectivist circles, cuts this fukker dead at all NBA owners meetings.

    1. Somebody should Roark the new arena.

  12. I would like to point out that he purchased that condo for $590,000 dollars in 2003. I find it very hard to believe that Mr. Goldstein has been a huge beneficiary of government action as well.

  13. I needed to do as a responsible husband and father to make sure that my family could make an orderly transition to a new home in Brooklyn.

    Wait, what?

    I’d be beating feet out of NY & NYC as soon as humanly possible, making sure that Bloomberg and Ratfuck only saw my shiny, white ass leaving, taking my 3 mil to a jurisdiction that actually respects property rights.

  14. I keep hearing that land theft by Israel provokes terrorism there.

    Why does not a similar thing happen here if that is the case?

  15. I never once heard Goldstein whine, only the vitriolic, anonymous crying and whining of blog posters. Good for Goldstein. He’s got balls, unlike most of you.

  16. Ratner, Bertha Lewis, NY Governor, Mike Bloomberg need to be publicly flogged and hanged. This is so transparently despicable, I have no words. One wonders what the fuck New York Times was doing with this story?

    1. Why would the NYT give this any coverage? They got the site for their building the same way – legalized theft AKA eminent domain abuse.

  17. This was an incredibly smart and crafty thing for Ratner to do. Now no one will listen to Goldstein’s complaints since it looks like he sold out. If he had been payed lower than or equal to market price, he would still be able to incur people’s anger at Ratner and eminent domain. Now, not so much.

  18. If you have any information on Bruce Ratner’s corruption and/or his ties to ACORN or Obama, Click “Whistleblower” at http://republicans.oversight.house.gov/

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