Late last month, the state and Bruce Ratner won a final court battle for the right to force property owners to sell their land in order for the developer to build his massive Atlantic Yards project. This was a substantial victory for the state's rights of eminent domain, which according to foes have been steadily expanding over the past few years. But the state was slapped back yesterday when they tried to use the process to turn over land in Upper Manhattan to Columbia University for a planned satellite campus. An appellate division of the State Supreme Court wrote in a strongly worded decision that there was no evidence of blight in Manhattanville, which was one of the reasons the state used to reclaim the land. "The time has come to categorically reject eminent domain taking, solely based on underutilization," the court said. "In this case, the record overwhelmingly establishes that the true beneficiary of the scheme to redevelop Manhattanville is not the community that is supposedly blighted, but rather Columbia University, a private elite education institution." Burn!
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