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Lawsuit targets Ratner’s ‘domain’

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A long-anticipated war against the state’s condemnation of private property for Atlantic Yards begins today.

Eleven tenants and owners within the footprint of the proposed mega-project announced that they will file a federal lawsuit in the U.S. Eastern District Court on Thursday afternoon, charging developer Bruce Ratner, Mayor Bloomberg and state officials with abusing the power of eminent domain for private benefit.

“This lawsuit presents a textbook example of what the Fifth Amendment expressly prohibits: the taking of one citizen’s property in order to benefit a powerful and influential private citizen,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Matthew Brinckerhoff.

Ratner faced a similar lawsuit in the 1980s when the state condemned several blocks of Downtown Brooklyn for the Metrotech office complex.

He settled the majority of those complaints out of court, paying off owners and tenants with generous relocation offers.

The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit this week in anticipation of the Empire State Development Corporation’s expected approval of the project’s final environmental impact statement — an action that would allow the condemnation process to begin.

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