LOCATION: The U.S. District Court in Brooklyn ruled earlier this month that Atlantic Yards does serve some public purpose. In other words, its sole purpose is not to confer a private benefit on Forest City Ratner, the developer. What did you think of the ruling?
MR. GOLDSTEIN: First off, the judge did reject three of the four motions to dismiss the case brought by the defendants [including Forest City Ratner and the Empire State Development Corporation].
So what was positive out of that decision was that the judge decided that the claims you are making are constitutional claims based on the U.S. Constitution and belong in federal court, and that’s where they should be. And that’s where we are. But then he went to the fourth motion to dismiss the case where he did agree with the defendants that the plaintiffs did not present a valid claim.
We disagree because we feel that significant parts of the argument that we raised in our initial complaint this court simply did not address; and those arguments come out of the Supreme Court decision of two years ago, Kelo v. New London.
Do you feel a successful appeal of the recent federal ruling would stop the project?
Well, first off, a successful appeal on this would simply get us to a trial. And then we would be able to make a strong case. Yes, [Bruce] Ratner is creating facts on the ground through demolitions. At this point, the issue isn’t what’s going to come down, or what’s coming down, but what goes up. If we ultimately win our lawsuit, the project as we know it can’t go up. There’s a significant amount of property that Ratner does not own. Until the day comes where the developer has the deeds, including this unit in this building, which is situated where the arena would be, the project can’t go forward. We would hope to win this appeal on the motion to dismiss in the Second Circuit Court; if we don’t, we will be writing to the Supreme Court to hear our case. This will go on and on. This is not over by a long shot.
Have you heard anything from the Spitzer administration? He had his concerns coming into office about the project.
The Spitzer administration since it has come into office, when it comes to Atlantic Yards, most of what they’ve had to say publicly is through the Empire State Development Corporation and almost all of it from their press person. Their tactic seems to be “Well, this project was approved by the last administration.”
Have you talked to Pat Foye, the new head of the downstate ESDC?
Pat Foye was scheduled to take a tour of the project site. It was postponed and it hasn’t happened.
When was it postponed?
It was March. We think he should still do that.