Don’t miss the July 2012 issue of the Practical Real Estate Lawyer, a publication of what was called ALI-ABA, now ALI-CLE. Specifically, what we have in mind is the article by Michael Rikon, entitled I Represented the Devil In Brooklyn, at p. 5. Not to keep you in susopense, we should mention up front that “The Devil” is Daniel Goldtein, the named plaintiff in Goldstein v. Pataki and Goldstein v. Empire State Development Corp., respectively, the federal and state cases in which Mr. Goldstein challenged the taking of his place in Brooklyn for redevelopment. Mr. Rikon is the leading eminent domain lawyer in New York who represented Mr. Goldstein in his fight for just compensation.
If you are into eminent domain, this is a good, informative read, that tells the story of the machinations that accompanied that controversy.
The only thing that is missing from Mr. Rikon’s story is what has been happening on the ground after the courts ruled in the city’s favor. We know that construction of the basketball arena for the redeveloper has begun, and that construction of the promised housing has not. Beyond that we are short on details, but we have a hunch that this is a part of the story that needs telling. This taking involved over 100 acres of urban land, so there may just be another Kelo-style disaster unfolding there — i.e., a taking of much urban land that in spite of the condemnor’s rosy prognostications, remains vacant and unused after spending a fortune in public funds. So why hasn’t this aspect of the story been reported by the press — those gimlet-eyed guardians of the public weal, whose ministrations keep the American public informed about government failings? Who knows? Maybe the New York Times, the newspaper of record, will get around to it just as soon as they get done reporting some piddly title dispute in Jerusalem, which as we all know, is the most important news in the world, duly reported by the Times. But Brooklyn? Puhleeze! Nobody goes there, except the proles, and some folks of quality hankerin’ for a good steak at Luger’s.
In the meantime, read Mike Rikon’s piece. You will be better informed if you do. Click here.