The Brooklyn Paper has a thorough wrap-up of yesterday’s opening arguments in Goldstein et. al. vs. Empire State Development Corporation, the case brought before the State Supreme Court by tenants who are threatened with displacement via eminent domain for the proposed Atlantic Yards development.
At issue, reports the Brooklyn Paper, is whether developer Bruce Ratner’s claim that the project has “public benefit” has merit, or whether the claimed public benefit is “incendental” compared to the developer’s planned profit. Gersh Kuntzman reports, “Justice Robert Spolzino of the Appellate Division appeared to be sympathetic to [plantiff's attorney] Brinckerhoff’s argument, asking ESDC lawyers several times to explain how the agency determined that the project has what they called an ‘overwhelming’ public benefit if the ESDC had not also measured the private benefit to Ratner.”
In addition, the Brookyn Paper reports, the plaintiffs’ attorney argued that under the State Constitution, eminent domain may not be used for the creation of luxury housing, as planned: “In Monday’s arguments, he reiterated his contention that Article 18, section 6 of the state’s Constitution bars the use of public money from being allocated to an urban renewal project unless ‘the occupancy of any such project shall be restricted to persons of low income.’”
A ruling on the case is expected in several months.