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The ‘Watchtower’ deal’s winners and losers

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city’s agreement to fund Brooklyn Bridge Park’s annual maintenance with the property taxes on soon-to-be-sold Watchtower properties could be the greatest real-estate swindle of all time or sound public policy. But either way, it’s created plenty of winners and losers:

WINNERS

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society: The sect also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses will make a killing when the city rezones its 30-plus properties for residential use.

Brooklyn Heights: The richest neighborhood will have its flashy new park paid for without bearing the burden of any new buildings.

Daniel Squadron: The Brooklyn Heights state senator made good on his main campaign promise to reduce or eliminate housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park — and won’t likely be blamed if the deal blows up.

LOSERS

Developers: Real-estate magnates were dying to build new luxury high-rises on Pier 6. But if the city plan works, those buildings won’t be needed.

The next mayor: The new administration will be holding the bag if the Watchtower buildings don’t generate as much park money as advertised.

The poor: Millions of dollars in normal property taxes — which fund basic city services such as libraries, cops, firefighters and schools — will be siphoned off from the rezoned Watchtower buildings to pay for a fancy park in an already rich neighborhood.

— Kate Briquelet

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Reader Feedback

Danny Haszard from Maine says:
The Watchtower was / still is the largest landowner in Brooklyn which is an astounding statement of their wealth estimated at real estate holdings worldwide of $200 billion.

This is monies that was donated by an apocalyptic beat that fleeced 3 generations of my family.
--

Danny Haszard Bangor Maine
Aug. 11, 2011, 1:25 am
Craig from Crown Heights says:
Losers: The Poor
Winners: The Already Rich
Kate Briquelet: Accurate
Me: Sad
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:16 am
Bill from Boerum Hill says:
Squadron and Millman also losers. They won for now by pretending to get something but just wait....The electorate isn't stupid. These two sell-outs will face voters next year. They think we won't remember. They will be wrong.
Aug. 11, 2011, 11:33 am
Danny Haszard from Maine says:
These cult leaders promised eternal life to a million followers in order to solicit their $$ donations. (End of the world in 1975) Now they're bugging out/cashing in and moving upstate to their new Watchtower complex.

2011 apocalyptic Watchtower still kicking around and selling out to luxury condo conversions that no Jehovah Witness member could ever afford.
Yep,armageddon -ain't-a-coming-so-im-a-getting-outta-here
They literally got my most of my Grandfather's money we had to support him in his last years as he was broke.
Aug. 12, 2011, 9:41 am
Minnie Me from 44122 says:
...it would be more appropriate to ask...Who can fix the earth being knocked off it's axis after resent repeated major earthquakes...a real realestate venture that will make everyone losers???
Aug. 12, 2011, 11:43 am
AG from Antwhere says:

No one was complaining 40 years ago when the JW's were buying property others found not worthy of investment. Geez, is it not EXPECTED that a real estate asset show SOME appreciation after a half a century.

Each and every one of us living today have the free will to do what we want. The last time I checked you're not obligated to give or sign over any assets unless you want to.

I feel for any victims of abuse in any form but, there are unscrupulous individuals in every business, religion, & government... That doesn't make the whole group/system responsible or corrupt! If a private banker rips off millions of dollars from individuals... Is the CEO or Board to blame? Of course not, there's NO way that he/they would know or be able to keep track of EVERY transaction with the company. I just don't see the reasoning behind some arguments...

May we find it in our hearts to forgive regardless of the injustice, small or large, committed against us. As this opens up the opportunity for our own errors to be forgiven.
Aug. 13, 2011, 5:11 am
Bob from Local NY says:
Loser= Danny Haszard

Fool me once shame on you. Fool 3 generations of family...shame on you and yours.

I see your constant comments about how JW's hurt your family. Its amazing that you still allow this religion to dominate your life. Move on, sir, you will be happier if you stop focusing on all that was done to you and your family. Live your life as you believe is right and stop bringing attention to them.
Aug. 16, 2011, 1:32 pm
Roger from Manhattan says:
I agree with Bob. Mr. Haszard get over it. You will never be happy unless you let it go.
Aug. 16, 2011, 10:30 pm
Janna from Brooklyn Heights says:
Jehovah's Witnesses are the most decent, caring, loving people on earth. They are not swindling anyone. What do you suggest they do? Lose money on the deal? Would you do that? NO! Would the government do that? NO! They bought that property 100 years ago. It was not worth anything then. Now they are making money on it. They also kept the property values in the neighborhood high by keeping their properties in top shape. They have been good neighbors. I am grateful to them. If it wasn't for them being in the area it would be a slum like the rest of Brooklyn.
Aug. 23, 2011, 4:11 pm
Janna from Brooklyn Heights says:
I would like to know what this article has to do with this religion? They do NOT believe in divorce. They do not believe in stealing. They live by Bible laws. If you have a problem with their religion, go somewhere else to complain. Personally, I think we should put them in charge of the USA money. The politicians are crooks!!!! Don't take it out on these people. In America, it's alright to make a profit!!! DUH!!!!If you want to complain about something, complain about the House and Senate and how THEY profit and spend!!!!
Aug. 23, 2011, 4:15 pm
Roatandave from USA says:
Danny Haszard

Do the letters F.O. mean anything to you?
Aug. 26, 2011, 5:26 pm
Jonathan Rudes from NYC says:
Is there any followup to this story? Is this deal carved in stone someplace?
Dec. 1, 2011, 10:17 am
Santa Claus from North Pole says:
Lot of negativity on this thread - very little to do with Real Estate…

Bottom line: They bought properties they sold properties - and? It’s done all the time by organizations; religious or otherwise. One thing I can tell you respecting the proceeds of the sales, those funds are ear marked and must go into the Watchtower Organization coffers, and not be bled off as some suggest. Funds will no doubt be used to propagate their work. It is absurd to allege embezzlement, misappropriation, and personal benefit for those who have the corporate responsibility and authority of divesting the WT holdings. I highly doubt that the WT will be buying a 180 foot yacht and a summer place in the Mediterranean, unlike some televangelists, who funnel 100M’s per year to themselves to support their singular and bountiful lifestyles, flying round in a Gulfstreams and living in lavish mega million dollar beach houses. Be sure of your information. Allegations can quickly be become liable at a push of a button; Hollywood superstars have sued for less! - Ho Ho Ho
Feb. 8, 2012, 11:13 pm

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