Our worries were unfounded, and DDDB should be worried about us. We got this totally wrong. The federal eminent-domain suit against Ratner — brought by DDDB, charging that the Atlantic Yards project violates the U.S. Constitution, captioned Goldstein v. Pataki — goes on. This was a state suit filed by eleven rent-stabilized tenants, charging that they were given inadequate compensation to move, and it was dismissed only on a jurisdictional issue. Apologies to everyone; mortification to us.
Yesterday, a state judge threw out Goldstein et al. v. Pataki et al., the linchpin of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s anti–Atlantic Yards effort. There are other suits, targeting smaller issues, but this federal eminent-domain case was the point at which the whole multitude of cross-purpose vectors met. As the DDDB Website plainly states, Bruce Ratner’s project “cannot be built if plaintiffs win this suit.” Daniel Goldstein, the DDDB spokesperson who’s made us fatigued of the adjective “indefatigable,” couldn’t have more riding on the outcome: His own condo at 636 Pacific would be seized if the suit failed. (Today’s Post item errs in describing plaintiffs as “stabilized-rent tenants” — the suit brought together renters, owners, and small-businessmen.) Adding insult to injury, the suit died on a technicality. The case may have really been “about a conscious effort to circumvent community input and the lawful processes of open government,” as the original complaint reads, but it looks like the plaintiffs left an open flank by suggesting that they weren’t offered adequate compensation for the move; the judge felt that this was a condemnation matter and thus a case for the Appellate Division.
Uncharacteristically, by 10 a.m. the normally quick-on-the-draw DDDB had yet to respond to the decision. As needling and alarmist as we sometimes find their press releases, the silence is a little spooky. Here’s to a fast regrouping.