ACORN’s Bertha Lewis Goes a Little Nuts on Last Atlantic Yards Holdout

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Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Yesterday, the last man yet to be evicted from his home to make way for the Atlantic Yards development, Daniel Goldstein, agreed to move out for $3 million. Can you blame the guy? Goldstein, the spokesman for the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn group that had been fighting Atlantic Yards, was going to be evicted anyway, but was given millions of dollars to leave early. Here's how he described the deal today:


On April 9th ESDC filed papers requesting that the court evict me on May 17th. Wednesday morning my attorney argued that the court should not grant that eviction. After the argument, Judge Gerges made it crystal clear that he wanted resolution between me and ESDC/Ratner — that day — as to when I'd leave my home.

So instead of being evicted in about 27 days and then being forced to go to court to hope to get close to fair market value for my home (as opposed to the extremely lowball "just compensation" offered to me by New York State, which was nowhere near fair market value), I agreed to leave in about 17 days. That agreement to leave ten days sooner avoids further litigation over "just compensation," which would have cost me more time and money while accomplishing nothing for the fight against the project.

I did not sell my home today. I had no home to sell as the state took my home on March 1st. Contrary to what Ratner and ESDC might want people to believe, eminent domain was used on me and many others. My home was seized by the government to give to a private developer.

What I did do was agree to leave my home rather quickly in return for a payment. What I did do was what I needed to do as a responsible husband and father to make sure that my family could make an orderly transition to a new home in Brooklyn. I was left with no good choice by the ESDC or Judge Gerges.

Personally, we can't argue with that logic, even if the symbolism of the anti-development warrior taking a big fat check from the evil Bruce Ratner isn't quite the Hollywood ending some were hoping for. There are few things we wouldn't do for $3 million (seriously, it's kind of scary). Leaving our home a few days sooner than we had to would definitely be one of them. But ACORN's Bertha Lewis — we thought ACORN had shut down, but okay — doesn't see the logic of Goldstein's decision, according to an absolutely savage e-mail she sent out to reporters last night.


Finally, the itch that was Daniel Goldstein has been scratched and scratched out. After almost seven years of flawed strategies, smear campaigns, stupid tactics, disingenuous rhetoric and total disregard for people who have lived in the downtown Brooklyn community for years before he even thought about coming here; finally he got what he really wanted. A Deal. Not for the community he claimed to love so much, but for the only beneficiary of his community of one, himself, Double Dealing Danny Goldstein ...

What benefit has he delivered to the community? None except for his own pocket. Well, the housing at Atlantic Yards will be built, and the day after he moves out, which I hope will be sooner rather than later, the building that he squatted in these past years should be razed to ground immediately, and salt poured into the soil, so that never again can the likes of one of the biggest shakedown artists in Brooklyn return.

Yeesh. The irony of it all is that ACORN got its own payoff from Bruce Ratner to support and provide political cover to the Atlantic Yards project. Granted, in exchange, ACORN solidified the promise of affordable housing in the development — but it was also set to make millions off of marketing the housing and deciding who gets to live there, according to a former employee. ACORN was also saved in 2008 by a $1.5 million loan provided by Ratner when it was embroiled in financial trouble. Maybe Lewis is just jealous it wasn't $3 million.

Statement From Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Co-Founder Daniel Goldstein [Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn]
Bertha Lewis, ACORN CEO, Not Happy for Daniel Goldstein [NYO]