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Is the state playing lowball with Daniel Goldstein?

The Brooklyn Paper

State officials have finally put a price on Daniel Goldstein’s opposition to the Atlantic Yards project — it’s going to cost the activist $80,000.

Goldstein, the lone holdout in a Pacific Street condo building that is slated to be condemned to make way for Bruce Ratner’s basketball arena, has been offered just $510,000 for the three-bedroom unit that cost him $590,000 in 2003.

Goldstein, who runs the project’s principle opposition group, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, was miffed (to say the least) at the offer.

“I’m pissed off that the state is the low-balling me,” said Goldstein, whose last legal challenges to the project are on the verge of resolution. If those lawsuits fail, Goldstein said he’ll be forced to “go to court to get fair market value and just compensation.”

Goldstein’s lawyer, Mike Rikon, believes that the Empire State Development Corporation’s offer is lower than the market value of the apartment as a punishment for Goldstein’s opposition to the project.

“We saw the number and thought maybe they were being vindictive,” Rikon said.

Goldstein’s anger is not without irony. In 2005, Ratner offered him $1 million to pack up and leave — a bid that supporters of the mega-project sometimes cite as evidence of Goldstein’s obstinance.

But he drew a different conclusion.

“My home wasn’t for sale then,” Goldstein said. “Now [if the lawsuits fail] I’m being forced from it, and I want to be paid what’s fair.”

Fair is not what the ESDC is interested in right now, said a condemnation lawyer who is not involved in the Goldstein case.

“This is such an extreme lowball that it’s startling,” said the lawyer, William Ward. “You’re always going to get a low offer from the condemning authority, but not so extremely low. They’re being very punitive.”

State officials are required to pay “fair market value and just compensation” to landowners in condemnation proceedings. But the value of condemned units is subject to negotiations and appraisals.

Despite some downturn in the housing market, most experts agree that Goldstein’s renovated three bedroom has not fallen below its 2003 purchase price.

One local broker, Jesse Temple, said that such a unit — in a desirable area such as Prospect Heights — could fetch $825,000 to $900,000.

That’s nice green, but Goldstein said that his fight for fair treatment is not only a personal struggle, but an effort to bring attention to what he believes is mistreatment of all victims of the state’s “misuse” of its eminent domain power.

“All the eminent domain-loving pols — Paterson, Schumer, Bloomberg, Markowitz, DeBlasio and on and on — all blithely say, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll get treated fairly,’” Goldstein said. “Well, the reality is: no, you do not. People understand that you will get screwed if you try to fight for your rights and fight for principles and fight for your home.”

In another irony, the state condemnation process also provides a “relocation firm” to help Goldstein find a new place. But the firm’s suggested apartment only rubbed salt in the opponents’ wound: For $510,000, all he could get was a two-bedroom apartment near Crown Heights that is two-thirds smaller than his current digs.

“This proves that what they’re offering [isn’t fair market value because it] can’t get me something similar in this neighborhood,” Goldstein said.

The ESDC did not want to comment beyond saying that the agency “used an outside appraiser” to calculate the value of Goldstein’s apartment.

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mike from FG says:
He shouldn't get a penny. He should have to suffer the same way all the people who would have had jobs had the project been built have to suffer. i just hope this thing happens.
Nov. 17, 2009, 12:37 am
William from Park Slope says:
Well thats what happens when you try to put yourself before jobs and try tp stop a project that will benefit people out work. You should have taken the 1 million dollars and you could have bought another condo for a cheaper price and still have pocket money. Brooklyn Nets here we come.
Nov. 17, 2009, 12:37 am
Pete from Slope says:
Go Daniel go.
Nov. 17, 2009, 1:42 am
Inez from Sunset Park says:
I'd love to play with his low balls...
Nov. 17, 2009, 3:38 am
Jim from Park Slope says:
Mike and William,

Easy for you to say. I don't think you would be singing the same tune if the state was chasing you out of your homes. Especially if you were removed so a private developer could build luxury apartments for people richer than you.
Nov. 17, 2009, 3:41 am
Benn from Park Slope says:
He shouldn't be penalized for fighting. It's his right to fight eminent domain, that's the risk the state takes when it tries to seize peoples' homes. Daniel Goldstein should be paid what it would cost to buy a comparable condo in the same neighborhood.
Nov. 17, 2009, 3:47 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Benn,

He already was penalized for fighting. he was offered over 1 million dollars by the developer years ago and didnt bite. The state is offering him what the property is worth now. What does he want, the 1 million dollar offer back on the table?

He's like one of those fake tea party protesters in that he's getting paid to keep fighting from that destroy development gang. He needs this fight otherwise he is out of a job, like all those who could have been working building a stadium for Brooklyn and then working inside the stadium, and all the local businesses who would benefit from having stadium nearby. When the Yankees were in the world series, did you see how great it was for the local businesses around the stadium???

Your organization should be called Destroy Local Jobs & Businesses, cause it seems that is your real agenda....
Nov. 17, 2009, 7:49 am
sid from Boerum Hill says:
The way this is ultimately decided is a court will decide the fair/just value. Its not unheard of for the State to start low and then at court offer more much more. Ultimately the State's experts testify, Goldstein's experts testify and the court sets the value.

The US Constitution always allowed the use of eminent domain. The issue was mainly whether it was a State's right vs the purposely weak federal government.

Fair compensation doesn't mean a windfall. it means what a willing buyer would pay at the time the property was taken, not in the future not in the past NOW....and now the prices are down. Some people get more some people get less some people get just right---it may not be perfect but its "fair"...Goldilocks any one?
Nov. 17, 2009, 9:04 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
Daniel Goldstein is a hero for standing up against a corrupt, eminent domain-abusing project that will cost the taxpayers billions.

And as one of the last obstacles to Bruce Ratner's massive land and subsidy grab, his home is worth many times more than $1 million, especially to Ratner.

And Al from Park Slope, "great... for the local businesses around the stadium?" That's just not true. Yankee Stadium, and most other modern sports facilities, are designed to draw and keep people inside. From the November 3rd New York Times:

"But Mr. Alawy and other merchants nearby said they had not benefited from the new stadium. In fact, many said that business was down significantly from previous years — running counter to predictions that the stadium would be an economic generator in the Bronx neighborhood."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/nyregion/04stadium.html

Here's hoping that Ratner and his political benefactors never get their dirty, greedy hands on Daniel Goldstein's home, and if they do, that Ratner has to pay through the nose for it.
Nov. 17, 2009, 10:19 am
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Haaaaaaa, Haaaaaa, Haaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!
Nov. 17, 2009, 10:20 am
duh from brooklyn says:
Sid, did you skip this paragraph?

One local broker, Jesse Temple, said that such a unit — in a desirable area such as Prospect Heights — could fetch $825,000 to $900,000.

yes, you did skip it.

the point is the apartment is worth, NOW, much more than the state's supposed "just compensation."
Nov. 17, 2009, 10:23 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Do they ever check the ip addresses of the posters here? I get the feeling Bruce Ratner is posting here under several different names.

Go Daniel Go! Clinton Hills supports you and Team Tish!
Nov. 17, 2009, 10:56 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Hey Duh- that is his opinion. He is entitled to it. He will have to show actual sales- not conjecture. Prices are still down from their High's. Its all relative.
Nov. 17, 2009, 11:26 am
duh from brooklyn says:
prices are not down in Prospect Heights from 2003, that is a fact. not an opinion
Nov. 17, 2009, 11:35 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Joey,

Why is it that anytime anyone on here posts that they are for the stadium, it is proposed that it must be a Bruce rattner employee. That is the problem with the people from Destroy development. You guys actually believe that your view is the only view excepy for a handful of "rich people and politicians".

Sorry to say that not everyone in brooklyn shares your view. And Daniel Goldstein is GETTING PAID by Destroy Development to stand up!!!!!! Its his job.....

And as for local businesses doing better around a stadium. Ask all the local bars/restaurants around Madison Square garden how much better they do on Ranger Game nights/ Concert nights, Knick games....etc. Please stop the BS rhetoric that businesses are not affected by a local stadium. Ask Mustang harry's on 7th Ave by the garden, mustang Sally's, the Blarney Stone, Brother Jimmy's...etc etc etc......

Nov. 17, 2009, 11:45 am
al pankin from downtown says:
this is really funny, he thinks he should get some sort of reward for holding up the redevelopment of this blighted area for years.
the area get
some sort of reduced development.
he should be made to pay for the entire legal fees for this fiasco (both sides).
who paid for all the leagal fees all these years?
Nov. 17, 2009, 1:30 pm
Noah from Greenwood Heights says:
No Jobs were lost due to the actions of Develop don't destroy Brooklyn. It's a much more complex issue than just jobs didn't get created. The argument of this area of brooklyn is long standing at was created by the state mostly in regards to the sad state created by the Atlantic ave rail yards and then in the future by the Atlantic center and malls that have sprouted up which have adversely affected small local businesses. Development isn't always good even if it creates a few temporary construction jobs, it's important to create responsible development of brooklyn which will create powerful neighborhoods with powerful economies that will pay fair wages for years to come to the residents of an area. The arena will bring jobs, but they like the jobs at the near by malls will pay below living wages and will be centers of crime. Develop Don't destroy Brooklyn wants construction jobs, they just want those construction jobs to responsibly develop the area instead of developing it into a gold mine for Ratner. He already isn't going to be providing all of the public benefit he guaranteed with regards to the rail yard. Everyone should be upset if he doesn't get fair market value, because you could be next.
Nov. 17, 2009, 2:12 pm
sid from boerum hill says:


Hey duh. in stead of fighting please read what I wrote.

"Its not unheard of for the State to start low and then at court offer more much more. Ultimately the State's experts testify, Goldstein's experts testify and the court sets the value."

Did I say their offer was fair? Did I say it was worth less than 2003? I said prices are down from their highs.

Do I think its worth less than Ratner offered a couple of years ago? Even the broker you quote says it is.
Nov. 17, 2009, 2:21 pm
Pedro says:
The time for a deal has passed, Dan... Ratner offered you double, all the other residents in your problematic building knew a good thing when they saw it and took the money and fled, but you remained and fought. Galant effort, sir, with that effort comes the risk of being proven wrong and losing. A few months ago, you could have cut a sweetheart deal with Ratner that would have maybe netted you another $250-500K on top of the $1M. But now? Now Ratner's project is delayed, the lawyers are paid for, and there is no incentive to pay you off.

You lose! Good day, sir.
Nov. 17, 2009, 2:27 pm
Peter from Clinton Hill says:
Al from Park Slope, If you love the life around Madison Square Garden so much, why don't you go live there? Wow it sure is a beautiful neighborhood around MSG. And I'm sure Applebees and Buffalo Wild Wings will be great for local businesses. Ratner's all about local business, that's why he builds malls. Give me a break.
Nov. 17, 2009, 3:01 pm
Pacholo from Red Hook says:
Get out! Let Brooklyn live on.
Nov. 17, 2009, 7:56 pm
Mike from FG says:
You know what, someone should check ip addresses here it sounds like goldsteins people are posting more than once. I don't work for ratner but if i did i would have foud away to get danny boy out a lonng time ago and we would have progress. thanks for killing all the jobs danny boy.
Nov. 17, 2009, 9:45 pm
Jabir Ibn Hayyan from Park Slope says:
Everybody seems to be missing the point that Goldstein shouldn't have to move at all if he doesn't want to, no matter what the price.
Nov. 18, 2009, 12:55 am
Dave from Brooklyn Heights says:
I don't understand why Dan Goldstein and his Lawyer Mike Rikon feels that Goldstein's being low-balled. The economy stinks the prices of real estate has gone down. I bet at one time or another when the offer came from Forest City the amount was well abpve the market prices. It's seems that all Dan Goldstein & Mike Rikon's lives they seem to blame others instead of blaming themselves. Grow up Dan Goldstein tough times are around us, you should move out and think about your family instead of your pocket.
Nov. 18, 2009, 10:53 am
Bayof from Biscay says:
Did Goldstein and his fellow colonizers not buy low to sell high? (not that there's anything wrong with that) Had there not been whiffings of development in the area when they bought in? Were they not mere speculators? Were they not flippers who got caught in a down market? And how did they plan to develop and not destroy?
Nov. 18, 2009, 11:23 am
Peter from Clinton Hill says:
Where did Alan from Sheepshead Bay's ugly post go? I guess threatening people's lives is going a little too far for the Brooklyn Paper. I understand that people on both sides are passionate about this issue, but do we need to digress into the realm of the disgusting. Thank you BP for removing it from the comments.

Thank you Daniel Goldstein for standing up for yourself, your family, your community and what you believe in. Thank you for being the very public face for so many of us. And thank you for enduring through all this ugliness.
Nov. 18, 2009, 4:29 pm
Ed Temple from Park slope says:
I think that the use of eminent domain for private gain is undemocratic. Even when it is used to further the public well-being as in the taking of private property to build a park for example, the process is painful for the owner. When the authority of the state is ganged up against a land holder for nothing but the beneifit of a well connected private citizen, the whole concept becomes tainted and un-just. The Atlantic Yards epitomizes this injustice and the politicians who facilitated this injustice should be held accountable at election time.
Nov. 19, 2009, 10:54 am
Brooklynite from From Out of Town says:
This project has become the laughing stock for people in other parts of the country. Build a project that includes low cost housing and then eliminate that aspect of the project? Dislocate lower income people to make room for a basketball stadium? Pay off the local preachers whose parishiners are being dislocated? Get the tacit approval from the Borough President who needs a job when he leaves office?

Does any of this make sense?

How about the phony argument of job creation? None of those building trades jobs will go to local residents. The majority of these union jobs for all the guys whose families ran away from Brooklyn in the '50s (white flight). All anyone will have to do is look at the license plates of the workers, and they will see the overwhelming prevalence of New Jersey plates, and those from Long Island and The Bronx. How many workers will actually be walking to the construction site from Prospect Heights or Fort Greene?

Should Dan have accepted the original offer? Probably. But that offer was based on the unreasonable expectation that Ratner would actually build a combination of arena and low- and upper-income housing, and that the result would be an added improvement to the neighborhood.

Instead, this blight will choke existing public transit, no one will take the LIRR to the games, Manhattanites with expensive season tickets will come, but the locals, who have given up their houses so that Ratner, Bloomberg and Markowitz will have another toy with which to play, will not be able to afford the ticket prices.

Let the project continue as long as all the construction jobs are slated for residents in the effected area. As for Dan, good luck. You'll probably win and get a higher offer, but the process will cost you more in stress and aggravation than you've already experienced.
Nov. 19, 2009, 1:50 pm
Barbara from Clinton Hill says:
Deep congratulations to Dan, his wife and family for holding on to their principles, for being fighters in dirty NYC politics and for somehow surviving so far, through all of the paramount GREED and blatant blown up, exaggerated and totally false statements of job creation, and public benefit which is basically a not so creative fiction by rich billionaires and NYC politicos co-towing, once again, to the all powerful construction trade unions and to hell with Bklyn neighborhoods or any sense of the middle class who were more or less terrorized by high crime yrs ago and fled. Now that some semblance of the middle class returned, decades later, redoing buildings, moving in with families, trying to live in downtown Bklyn - what happens? The likes of Ratner at al., build malls, big box stores, destroy any semblance of mom & pop stores, any real feeling of something called a NEIGHBORHOOD - instead, it is just a comlex investment plan and those of us who chose to return or to stay in Bklyn, through the dangerous days of class riots of the '60's and the ever present crime, now get to go to bat against a new Russian billionaire that Mr. Ratner has magically pulled out of his top hat, built on your tax dollars, your tax credits, YOUR PUBLIC BENEFIT? Temporary jobs for the unions, expensive baseball tix?? THIS IS NOT A FREE PUBLIC PARK. PUBLIC STEALING TO BENEFIT Mr. RATNER AND THE NYC POLITICOS. Dan Goldstein is a HERO.
Nov. 19, 2009, 9:09 pm
freddy from slope says:
ditto barbara.
Nov. 20, 2009, 8:45 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Well I personally cant wait for 20 years from now after the arena has been open and become the source of many iconic memories for Brooklynites old and new from the sporting events of the future Brooklyn sports teams in the major sports leagues (hopefully with many a championship banner hanging from the rafters) to the concerts that will be as memorable as some of the great new york shows from some of the biggest named bands of all time as well as the countless other events the arena will hold one day.....

Everybody here has their opinion on the issue which I respect... here is mine... thats all
Nov. 20, 2009, 3:18 pm
mike from FG says:
Al I agree with you.
Nov. 21, 2009, 6:01 pm
ed temple from park slope says:
Double ditto Barbara !!!! And where is the illustrious Mayor Mike with his anti-car, anti-pollution platform? This project will literally choke our neighborhood, all for the benefit of billionaires better known as Mike's friends.
Nov. 22, 2009, 7:50 am
Chris from Dumbo says:
They should have offered him a $1. Punitive damages for all the wasted taxpayer dollars spent in hearing these ridiculous lawsuits he brought forth.

The vast majority of Brooklyn and the city support this project. Mr. Goldstein has wasted time, money and energy fighting against the greater good. His in the minority and yet demands to be treated as the majority. Please.

Kudos to the State Court of Appeals for the vote and for REFUSING to hear his wasteful counter arguments.

Not once has DDDB brought forth an alternative plan to fix up the blighted area the Atlantic yards will occupy. It's been wasteful lawsuit after lawsuit and now he has the nerve to complain he is getting lowballed. Please. Can we use eminent domain to force Mr Goldstein to move to Utah or some other remote state.
Dec. 2, 2009, 2:09 pm

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