Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WPU's Jerry McGuire Moment

Well it looks as if the little engine that could-aka WPU-may be looking at getting all of its money back since the city has abandoned its condemnation effort. The NY Daily News has the man bites dog story:

"A group of Willets Point property owners want the city to pay their hefty legal fees after pulling plans last week to take over their land through eminent domain proceedings. The city halted its controversial approach because it was instead nearing a deal with a developer to overhaul the industrial cluster of auto body shops and scrap yards next to Citi Field."

Show us the money-the city must be made responsible for putting the property owners through a living hell. All for nothing:

"Michael Rikon, an attorney representing about two-dozen Willets Point business owners, said he will file a petition for the city to repay his clients’ legal fees. Willets Point United members have shelled out more than $300,000 in legal fees since 2008, he said. That number is on top of the money group members paid to attorney Michael Gerrard, who represented them in their fight against new exit ramps on the Van Wyck Expressway. Rikon said his clients are entitled to the money under section 702 of New York State eminent domain law."

For its part, the city isn't digging in its heels: "City officials said they will examine the petition and make a decision as to whether or not to reimburse the stakeholders.“We will review any claims they submit and will determine how to proceed at that time,” a spokeswoman for the city Law Department said in an email."

But WPU isn't finished quite yet-there still is the question of what to do about those pesky ramps that the FHWA has erroneously approved. The answer: Sue the bums: "Gerrard said his clients are also contemplating whether to file a suit alleging the Federal Highway Administration violated federal law when it approved the Van Wyck exit ramps without performing a full environmental review.“We’re really waiting for the city to come out with its new formal plan,” Gerrard said."

After all, this would be a law suit that would be funded by house money.