A New Face for Atlantic Yards

A lively meeting over at Empire State Development headquarters this morning: the board was also expected to appoint a new lawyer to represent the agency on the Atlantic Yards project, until a dispute over the former lawyer, David Paget, is resolved. An appeals court hearing on that dispute, which the state economic development agency lost at a lower level court, is to begin at 2 p.m. today.

Atlantic Yards opponents contend that Paget had a conflict of interest, since he earlier represented the developer, Forest City Ratner.

Daniel Goldstein, spokesman for Develop—Don’t Destroy Brooklyn writes in an e-mail: “Their main argument for their appeal was that they couldn’t find a new lawyer. Apparently that is specious.”

A letter from the law firm representing the state agency in the appeal, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, states: “E.S.D.C. determined to take this step solely for the purpose of insuring that the environmental review of the project would not be delayed during this appeal and any possible subsequent review by the Court of Appeals.”

According to the March 20 letter, which Goldstein received as a party to the case, the agency was to approve the new appointment today. We’re waiting on confirmation of the vote from E.S.D.C.

-Matthew Schuerman

UPDATE: The new law firm is Bryan Cave LLP. (We erroneously said in an earlier version of this post that it was Skadden Arps, they are representing the agency in the appeal.)