Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Crain's Insider Focuses on WPU Eminent Domain Challenge

In this morning's Crain's Insider (subsc.), the newsletter reports on the WPU eminent domain lawsuit that will be filed soon against the city:

"Mike Rikon, the lawyer handling Willets Point businesses' lawsuit fighting eminent-domain condemnations, says a handful of such suits have succeeded in New York, usually on environmental grounds. That's his primary argument in the Queens case, but he's also asserting that City Council approval of the city's action resulted from illegal lobbying by a city-funded local development corporation and from “special deals” the Bloomberg administration made in buying out property owners favored by the council. Rikon said the city erred by not making formal offers and not giving hearing notices to all owners and tenants."

As we have pointed out before, there are proper procedures for treating potential condemnees-and Rikon has highlighted just how far EDC has strayed from following these legal parameters. So the skirting of the legal niceties continues apace in this development.

From the mayor's, "they do it all the time," excuse for the illegal Shulman role in lobbying for the plan, to the end run of proper environmental review of the Van Wyck ramps, EDC does not ever feel constrained by the law-or certainly by what is ethical and proper. We will now see if the courts will constrain this rogue agency and restore the rule of law on Willets Point. The city's illegal bullying tactics need to be stopped.