Thursday, August 7, 2008

Willets Point and Atlantic Yards deals illegal under state constitution

Though the United States Supreme Court opted last month not to hear the tenants’ and property owners’ challenge to the state’s use of eminent domain power to facilitate the Ratner mega-project, lawyers filed suit last week in New York State Supreme Court citing a clause in the state’s bylaws that bars public money from underwriting any urban renewal project unless “the occupancy of any such project shall be restricted to persons of low income.”

It’s unconstitutional! Yards foes pull out new ace in the hole

Ratner’s development, which is slated to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in direct public subsidies and tax breaks, includes thousands of units of market-rate housing. That appears to be a violation of Article 18, section 6 of the state Constitution, which was adopted during the Depression.

But plaintiff’s lawyer Matt Brinckerhoff believes that his existing argument, coupled with the new interpretation of New York’s constitution, will win the day in state court.

“The language is plain,” he said. “That clause was written during the Depression for the clear purpose of clearing slum conditions with state subsidies and that any subsidized slum replacement must create low-income housing and nothing else. That is what the law says. There is no nuance.”


Article 18, section 8 of the NYS constitution states:

No loan, or subsidy shall be made by the state to aid any project unless such project is in conformity with a plan or undertaking for the clearance, replanning and reconstruction or rehabilitation of a sub-standard and unsanitary area or areas and for recreational and other facilities incidental or appurtenant thereto. The legislature may provide additional conditions to the making of such loans or subsidies consistent with the purposes of this article. The occupancy of any such project shall be restricted to persons of low income as defined by law and preference shall be given to persons who live or shall have lived in such area or areas.

25 comments:

Taxpayer said...

Commissar Death and Taxes has spent our time and money to promote what is clearly unconstitutional.

When did he know this? Probably from the start. Probably the developers knew, too. If he didn't know, why did he fail to know? Why did he fail to inquire? Was handing our tax dollars to his cronies more important then "protecting and defending" the constitution?

This land-grabbing thief has been planning to transfer hundreds of millions (billions?) of our hard-earned tax dollars to already wealthy developers, all while crying poverty in the city budget.

This vile thief is happy to have the taxpayers take all the risks while the wealthy developers reap all the profits.

And, there are still people who are trying to have him for a third term as commissar, or even governor (even as vice president)?

The Commissar claims greatness as a supreme manager, yet cannot first read the constitution that governs all his actions.

This great manager has spent this city into near bankruptcy after accomplishing what?

Smoking bans, trans-fat bans, anti-First Amendment calorie count requirements, and bans on hanging salami in a deli window! And, let's never forget: his crime explosion due to opening this city to illegal aliens who consume every city service in sight. Let's also never forget: Killing people on behalf of his frenzied overdevelopment.

The Commissar desperately wants total control over the lives of ordinary citizens, but, cannot manage his responsibilities to control city agencies.

He has failed at every land grab so far, and will fail once again in the theft of private property and the illegal shutdown of private business at Willets Point.

The dwarf, turtle face is a miserable failure!

Ant said...

So what will happen now if the mayor decides to screw everyone over and put in public housing?

I wouldn't put it past him.

Anonymous said...

If the constitution mandates low-income housing on slum-clearance projects, how do you explain Penn South, Stuy Town, and other private projects that are presently out of reach to low income families?

Anonymous said...

They can just argue or restructure so that the subsidies go to the office and the arena, and not the housing. There is no way this argument would stop the development.

Anonymous said...

So Taxpayer is for allowing smoking in public indoor places? The smoking ban is enormously popular and supported by NYC residents. Typical of Taxpayer's attitude - I should be able to do whatever I want and I should be able to stop you from doing whatever I don't want you to do. What a disgraceful statement from this guy.

Signed,
A Bigger Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

One is not getting built without the other, so yes, this can stop the project in its tracks.

Anonymous said...

The point is, Bigger Asshole, that Bloomberg's answer to everything either involves banning something, introducing something harmful or forcing more money out of people. That's a failure to manage. There are better ways.

Anonymous said...

did anybody hear about article in NYTimes in reference to Testwell Laboratories that falsified concrete testing in public schools and universities?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/07/nyregion/07concrete.html

Anonymous said...

I have news for these cry baby Queens myopic locals.The dumb forceful smoking ban is 90% nationwide and the state i came from it was a republican public funds slashing control freak governor that did that as well as building condos where people lived forcing them out just like here.Pawlenty might be old man Mccain's vice president.The point of existence for conservative capitalists like bush and bloomie is to take tax money and push it to the private sector that doesnt give back to the community and build stadiums,luxury buildings,chain store retail,and any property that lines their pocket and create's national debt lowering the dollar value.But bush can always borrow from china to pay off the debt like they have been doing for years now.People from other states know about Atlantic yards and understand its just a larger version of whats happening to their inner cities.And to the idiot in a previous post who said bush was against eminent domain,you know nothing about politics and have not seen what he shoves into bills he passes.Tell me about the texas rangers using tons of tax payer money that bush pushed through years ago and was illegal?This is old news crap fans.

Anonymous said...

I have a stack of court documents from Arlington that portray the ''sordid and shocking tale'' of the Rangers stadium, as one lawsuit puts it. Essentially, Mr. Bush and the owners' group he led bullied and misled the city into raising taxes to build a $200 million stadium that in effect would be handed over to the Rangers. As part of the deal, the city would even confiscate land from private owners so that the Rangers owners could engage in real estate speculation.

''It was a $200 million transfer to Bush and Rangers owners,'' complains Jim Runzheimer, an anti-tax campaigner in Arlington.

William Eastland, a leading Republican in Arlington, is also outraged, and puts it this way: ''You're using public money for a private purpose.'' Mr. Eastland was a Bush delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2000 but still believes that the Bush group behaved shadily and against the public interest.
And you were saying taxpayer???You know nothing about history.Bush would never do that.I thought he was ant-taxes??You guys are fun to play with.

Anonymous said...

Everything that is bad is somehow connected to George W. Bush. Even when it's not.

ew-3 said...

A word for all to learn -

Kleptocracy.

Who needs elected officials to rule us, we have bureaucrat (EPA/OSHA/BTAF etc) and judges to tell us how to live and to enforce their decisions on us.

Anonymous said...

Everything that is bad is somehow connected to George W. Bush. Even when it's not.?
What?Your contradicting yourself.Previous posts said bush was against eminent domain but hes used it in the pasts to make millions.So your using selective memory and being a hypocrite
.Its nothing new and quit saying hes against it because he used it many o times.But pick and choose where you may. In 1993, while walking through the stadium, Bush told the Houston Chronicle, "When all those people in Austin say, 'He ain't never done anything,' well, this is it." But Bush would have never gotten the

stadium deal off the ground if the city of Arlington had not agreed to use its power of eminent domain to seize the property that belonged to the Mathes family. And evidence presented in the Mathes lawsuit suggests that the Rangers' owners --

remember that Bush was the managing general partner -- were conspiring to use the city's condemnation powers to obtain the thirteen-acre tract a full six months before the ASFDA was even created.

In an October 26, 1990, memo from Mike Reilly (an Arlington real estate broker and part owner of the Rangers), to Tom Schieffer, Reilly says of the Mathes property, "... in this particular situation our first offer should be our final offer.... If this fails, we will probably have to initiate condemnation proceedings after the bond election passes."

The Mathes memo reveals a sharp contrast between Bush's public pronouncements in defense of property rights and his private profiteering. While running against Ann Richards, Bush said, "I understand full well the value of private property and its importance not only in our state but in capitalism in general, and I will do everything I can to defend the power of private property and private property rights when I am the governor of this state."
Sure there georgie.Willets needs your quick business savy now.The past repeats itself, but crap fans forget very well.

Anonymous said...

The point is this is between Bloomberg and Willets Point and not George Bush. But everything always has to be about George Bush, even when it's not.

ew-3 said...

More on what a Kleptockracy is all about. The EPA (unelected folks) deciding what we need....

From the NYTs

"The Environmental Protection Agency rejected on Thursday a request to cut the quota for the use of ethanol in cars, concluding, for the time being, that the goal of reducing the nation’s reliance on oil trumps any effect on food prices from making fuel from corn.

The E.P.A. administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said that the mandate was “strengthening our nation’s energy security and supporting American farming communities,” and that it was not causing “severe harm to the economy or the environment.”

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg , conservative ? hahahahahahahahaha

The man was a democrat right up to a few months before he was elected mayor, and when he knew he could not win the Democratic Party Primary, he switched parties because there was no Republican to run, and now he's an "Independant"? That's a joke too

He really does act exactly like a Commissar. The man is a statist, and the power to decide things should be in the hands of your betters (and HE decides who is better). This goes from where/when you drive, how your neighborhood should look, all the way to what you can eat (He's not only in the bedroom, he's in the kitchen too - pretty soon, he'll be in the bathroom telling you how many sheets of paper you can use)

Anonymous said...

Hey this is great news! Law makes sense as previously, the city wanted to take away property to give it to another to enrich themselfs.

THe current property owners should sue the city for 30 years of neglect at Willets Point and assisting outright outright theft for Ratner's Atlantic Yards.

Anonymous said...

Everything that is bad is somehow connected to George W. Bush. Even when it's not.???
The point idiot is that eminent domain is nothing new and bloomberg didnt invent it but you short memory folks dont remember you claim bush has never used eminent domain when people point out he did for the rangers stadium and made money off the taxpayers money.So your'e wrong again.You also forgot to do your research and see he used 200 million bucks of public money making a profit off it, and forcing people off 13 acres of land.Sound familiar?? If you claim he never did then plainly you have no clue what happened to Arlington texas.YOU folks claim he made it illegal to use eminent domain, but you dont look back to see hes a hypocrite and used it BEFORE he created the "law" you claim he will not break.Get a clue tunnel vision neo conservative voters.You mean politicians are corrupt?
But no its just rich boy dem, republican,independent,real eastae mogul bloomberg.Lets see you guys actually sue the state or city for being unconstitutional.Like thats anything new for all politicians, especially dick and bush.

Anonymous said...

Illegal? No! Don't tell me.

But that won't stop NYC from stealing private property through eminent domain abuse!

Let's review some local history:

Municipal Parking Lot #1 in Flushing was built by enacting eminent domain to evict a long established African American community around the vicinity of Macedonia AME Church.

The Bland Housing project was supposed to be built there.

Yet it wound up being built further west in its existing location.

Did the town fathers simply want
the Blacks out of a prime central location and moved to the less desirable back street property?

It surely seems that way!

Mark my words, there will be no low income or "affordable" housing built along the Flushing Creek.

Muss Development and Flushing's Asian colonizers won't allow it!

The back room plan was to rid the area of people of color by importing Asians to push them out!

Ask Myra Baird Herce, CB#7, the Flushing Chamber of Commerce if this is so.

But please don't expect a truthful response!

Taxpayer said...

You want history? Here's history. And it aint pretty.

The Fascist, Nazis, and Stalinists in Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Castro, Chavez and all the leftist "Commissars" just in the last century have used eminent domain to exercise power over the population.

Elimination of private property rights affects the current property owners, but also their rightful heirs or buyers. It is a way to show total control.

Now, none of them called it by its pretty name. Each wanted to use raw, unrestrained power.

In each country, those without conscience or scruples cheerfully occupied seized property with no concern at all for the fate of the rightful owners. (Sounds to me like the commenters who cheer on the Commissar because they want to eliminate the "blight" of the seized private property. Naturally, they see no blight for the simple reason that they never visited the location to begin with. But, like boozy nobodies watching a bar fight, they like the excitement and cheer on the one they think will win.) These cheerleaders probably think that they will get something from the seizure. They probably will; they will be laughed at by the new property owners.

Repeatedly, I have pointed to a current Commissar, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who has destroyed that once bountiful nation in his quest for personal power.

Mugabe, like NY's Commissar wants to cling to power so much that he kills all opposition, violates constitutional term limits and rigs election.

If Bush participated in the use of eminent domain to enrich himself, then he's wrong. Perhaps that explains his executive order banning federal funds from use in projects started with eminent domain.

If your blinding hatred of Bush prevents you from comprehending the destructiveness of eminent domain used to transfer private property to wealthy developers for private profit (with public tax dollars and public risk), then it is you who need help.

Eminent domain used to transfer private property to private hands is a destructive evil. Every instance of its use must be condemned.

That the US Supreme Court permitted the evil is no excuse. Once upon a time, the US Supreme Court ruled that slavery is legal, And, that Blacks were 3/5 human.

The US Supreme Court was wrong again with the Kelo decision. It has no moral standing.

Anonymous said...

Section 8 of the article allows sale of taken property in excess of what is required for low-income housing.

You can't put one unit of housing there without cleaning out the area- it's all a toxic wasteland.

If the suit prevails (which I doubt)the loophole becomes clear.

Anonymous said...

Tsk, tsk. You seem to be confusing "low income" housing with "affordable" housing. There has been no talk of low income housing here. No one wants that element near a shiny new tourist attraction, convention center, hotel, baseball stadium and million dollar condos. And even if the city were to make a certain percentage of the units low income, then the plan becomes economically infeasible.

Anonymous said...

If your blinding hatred of Bush prevents you from comprehending the destructiveness of eminent domain used to transfer private property to wealthy developers for private profit (with public tax dollars and public risk), then it is you who need help.
No again silly conservative EMINENT Domain is a horrible illegal thing but you right wing folks dont understand AGAIN he approved of it MANY times.Arlington Texas,roads through texas and Colorado, and property in D.C., but its always a double standard on here right??Blinding hatred.You my friend have no clue what previous posts said.Have fun with the sinking dollar as it all shifts to the private owning sector.Never said it makes it OK buddie. By the way open your eyes and see whos for the North American union connecting mexico with the U.S. and Canada.Dick and bush.Do you think its not illegal immigrants who do their cleaning.

Anonymous said...

You forgot Mussolini crap head.But nice try trying to link fascism with the left.Who installed right wing fascist( if wanna bring the term) Pinochet.Oh, thats right it wwas triicky dick Nixon and Kissenger.You guys are poorly read and completly biased.

Nicky B said...

What EDC is doing at Willets Point is simple: BLOCK BUSTING, plain and simple...Real Estate entrepreneurs did it in the 60's and 70's and were excoriated in the media and eventually prosecuted. Now Bloomberg, Shulman, Marshall and Wilpon) are doing it in Queens to the businesses at Willets Point. Take 1 or 2 out (at big $$$) and wait for the rest to cave. And they have a good plan. "Scare, bully and intimidate" and use the specter of eminent domain.
Hitler used 'eminent domain' against the Jews in Poland in 1939, forcing them out of their homes, stealing factories, warehouses, farms and riches, while eventually doing more ghastly things.

How long will America put up with governments that seize peoples property, saying they will 'relocate' them, but of course actually NEVER do, and in fact never, ever give them 'fair market value' or restore their dignity and personal legacies.

RELOCATE...Hmmm, isn't that what they told the people in Warsaw?