Tuesday, February 12, 2013

City likely owes us more than $1M

From today's Daily News:
Lawyers representing more than a dozen business owners of the gritty Iron Triangle are awaiting a judge’s decision on whether the city will be required to pay their legal expenses, which have surpassed more than $1 million.

Michael Rikon and Michael Gerrard both told the Daily News on Monday that once the city dropped its eminent domain bid last May in favor of a different development, it became obligated to reimburse their fees.

“The statute is very clear,” said Gerrard, who is seeking over $609,000 for work that his firm Arnold & Porter performed. “If the city abandons the condemnation, the parties whose lands were being condemned are entitled to their legal fees.”

The city decided to not proceed with its eminent domain bid. Instead, it announced in June a 23-acre development to be built by the Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Sterling Equities and the Related Cos.

The statute that Rikon and Gerrard are basing their case on is Section 702 of New York State’s eminent domain law, which states if the “procedure to acquire such property is abandoned by the condemnor ... the condemnor shall be obligated to reimburse the condemnee.”

The EDC was well aware that supplemental environmental reviews would be needed for the project, so they dropped their bid in May, court documents show.
When you play around with taxpayer money, it's taxpayers that get burned.