From Atlantic Yards Report:
Justice James Catterson intervened skeptically, asking if it was possible to “measure where an area is blighted by mere reference to area?” What, he asked about issues like value or the sites’ characteristics?
Karmel said the decision was at the discretion of the agency.
“Has AKRF ever studied an area it didn’t find to be blighted?” Catterson asked, drawing muted titters from the audience. (He’s another Republican appointee of former Gov. George Pataki.)
Karmel didn’t answer the question directly, but said, “We are relying on cold hard facts.”
Catterson wasn’t buying it: “If there’s all of a sudden new development in a poor neighborhood, why would we characterize it as blighted?”
Karmel tried to point to the blight characteristics found in the study. Catterson, who wrote the majority opinion upholding a judge’s decision that found a conflict of interest in AKRF’s relationship to Columbia University, said that “Columbia has hired the same consultant” and found the “same blight.”