Is the state playing lowball with Daniel Goldstein?

Oscar fever! Yards docu-ganda on short list for little gold statue

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.

He and his family are the lone occupants in the Pacific Street building, as the buzzer shows.
Jim Epstein

“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.

The Empire State Developement Corporation has sent Daniel Goldstein an offer on his apartment: $510,00 — $80,000 less than he paid for it.