Forest City Ratner officials abandoned their diplomatic talk on Tuesday to explicitly portray Daniel Goldstein, who ended his long holdout in the Atlantic Yards footprint for $3 million last week, as an opportunist looking to make as much money as possible.
Countering Goldstein’s own statements that the sticking point over last week’s negotiations was his refusal to sign away his right to criticize the project in the future, Forest City Ratner Executive Vice President MaryAnne Gilmartin told us that last week’s final negotiations did not bog down due to Goldstein’s refusal to sign a “gag order,” but simply over how much money he could get out of developer Bruce Ratner.
“The sticking point was how much money he wanted,” Gilmartin said.
A source close to negotiations reinforced that claim by saying that Goldstein had actually pushed for $5 million at one point during negotiations.
Goldstein and his lawyer, Michael Rikon, said that both claims were patently false.
“The money amount was settled pretty quickly,” Goldstein said. “The sticking point that led to nearly four hours of discussions was Ratner’s insistent desire to bind me to some sort of gag order.
“Apparently, taking my home and razing my neighborhood wasn’t enough for them,” he added.
The lawyer backed up his client.
“The money was never the problem!” said Rikon. “For [Gilmartin] to say that is outrageous.”
In the wake of this she-said, they-said story, Ratner is moving forward with construction of his Barclays Center arena, which he hopes to open during the 2012–13 basketball season. Meanwhile, Goldstein is hastily stowing away his belongings so he can move out of his Pacific Street condo by the May 7 deadline imposed by the settlement.
While taking a break from packing, Goldstein said he was looking forward to some time away from the spotlight.
“I’ll be moving on from this fight without losing sight of it,” Goldstein said, adding, “Though the spotlight will move away from this project, the next phase will last longer than the fight against it.”
But Goldstein hinted that he would not be vanishing from public life. He said he remained committed to advocating for reform of New York’s eminent domain laws, and said that he had casually considered running for elected office someday.
“I’ve thought about it,” Goldstein said. “But this was a six- or seven-year political campaign.”