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Rejection! Court turns down Yards foes in suit over MTA’s sweetheart deal

The Brooklyn Paper
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A state court has once again rebuffed an effort to throw a wrench in Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards machine, rejecting a lawsuit that accused the MTA of improperly selling its Vanderbilt rail yard by not seeking new bids after reopening the original 2005 deal with the developer this summer.

The suit, filed by panoply of elected officials and opposition groups, claimed that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority broke a state law that was passed in the wake of Atlantic Yards to curb abuses by state authorities through stricter transparency and ethics guidelines.

The plaintiffs pointed to the fact that the MTA renegotiated the deal with Ratner this summer, getting just $20 million up front instead of the $100 million originally promised. At the time, the transit agency did not seek new bids for its eight-acre train yard at the heart of the proposed arena, housing and commercial development.

But state Supreme Court judges did not agree with project opponents, ruling last Wednesday that the renegotiated deal did not warrant restarting the bidding process.

“If every change were to be viewed as a new plan so as to trigger anew each mandated review process, no development plan could ever reach final approval — let alone ultimate completion,” the ruling read. “The MTA had a rational basis for continuing to use the 2005 appraisal rather than ordering a new one in 2009.”

Opponents of the project called the ruling a sham, especially in light of the MTA’s just announced “doomsday cuts” in service that would affect everyone who uses public transportation.

“The MTA has no shame,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the main Atlantic Yards opposition group. “While giving a sweetheart deal to billionaire developers … its board gives a big lump of coal to school kids, disabled New Yorkers and all transit riders.”

The ruling by the New York State Supreme Court is yet another blow to the opponents of Atlantic Yards, which in the last two months has seen Ratner overcome several major hurdles on the way to finally breaking ground on his controversial basketball arena that will house the abysmal New Jersey Nets.

In the final week of November, the state’s highest court ruled that Ratner was properly using eminent domain to seize the final holdouts in the Atlantic Yards footprint.

And this week, Ratner secured $511 million for the project through the sale of tax-exempt bonds that were snatched off the market in merely two hours.

Still, the opposition plans to fight right down to the buzzer. This Sunday, a chain was installed at the beloved Freddy’s Bar at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue, which likely faces a wrecking ball in the coming months.

If that day comes, a dedicated crew of barflies has pledged to cuff themselves to the chain and face down the demolition.

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Reader Feedback

John Ryskamp from Brooklyn says:
Too bad Daniel Golstein and his lawyers are so incompetent they can't win a single case. Note that the Court found "rational basis." As long as the clown Goldstein continues to argue on Ratner's terms ("rational basis") he will ALWAYS lose.

This guy and his lawyers are the most incompetent clowns who ever lived. They are complete dogs.
Dec. 21, 2009, 2:35 pm
prosppark from prospect heights says:
off your meds John?
Dec. 21, 2009, 4:41 pm
John Ryskamp from Brooklyn says:
No, you're on yours, which is why you don't know what you're talking about. Dog.
Dec. 21, 2009, 5:37 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is more good news, it's a logical decision. lets get this project going already.
Dec. 21, 2009, 6:24 pm
Mike from FG says:
Seriously I need a job
Dec. 21, 2009, 10:24 pm
Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
This is a week old. get with the program
Dec. 22, 2009, 1:57 am
judah Spechal from BedStuy says:
Since you guys wer bought by a Corp. you seems to lost your edge. GEtting fat are you. This ruling happened last Wednesday. It was in several other papers. On the other hand Goldstein your 15mins. is up get off the stage already.
Dec. 22, 2009, 5:42 am
al pankin from downtown says:
enough already, these politicans are nothing but a shipload of fools who couldn't get a real job, if they did they wouldn't be able to hold on to one. they are just a bunch of people on the public dole.
Dec. 22, 2009, 10:09 am
Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
Let's hope Norm from atlanticyardsreport.com keeps on the chains.
Dec. 22, 2009, 11:22 pm
Paul from Park Slope says:
And the slide of the once proud Brooklyn Papers continues as evidenced by the quality of the comments on this topic. It's like reading the ignorant rants in Albany's Times-Union blogs. Every day the Atlantic Yards deal gets scummier and scummier, and the cheerleaders more rabid and stupid. And they feel totally at home in the New & Devolved Murdoch press.
Dec. 23, 2009, 11:31 am

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