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BROOKLYN, NY-Eleven property owners and tenants have filed a petition asking the Supreme Court of the US to hear their eminent domain appeal, which was dismissed on Feb. 1 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. The petition it intended to provide the Court with the opportunity to address the appropriate constitutional limits on the government’s power to seize private homes for the benefit of real estate developers, according to a prepared statement by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn

Although Forest City Ratner, developer of the $4-billion Atlantic Yards project tells GlobeSt.com that they have no formal comment at this time as far as a response to this particular petition, they did note that the company has won 18 consecutive court decisions.” A spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that “when we started we owned 0% of the condos and co-ops and 35% of the rental units. Currently we own 89% of the land needed to complete the project, including 93% of the condos and co-ops–64 of 69–81% of the rental units–83 of 102.”

The spokesperson also tells GlobeSt.com that “they have filed and lost this case in the federal court and the federal appeals.” At the time the case was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals, FCRC issued a statement saying that the decision was more than another victory for Atlantic Yards. “It is a victory for public good and the importance of investing in diverse communities throughout the City,” said Bruce Ratner, CEO and chairman of FCRC at the time. “Atlantic Yards will bring thousands of affordable homes and needed jobs to Brooklyn. We believe, and the courts have repeatedly agreed, that these are real benefits that will have a significantly positive impact on the borough and the City.”

Two weeks before that Feb. 1 ruling, the NY State Supreme Court ruled against opposition in a case involving environmental review procedures. According to a DDDB statement, given the mammoth scale and footprint of the project, Atlantic Yards is dependent on the use of eminent domain; it cannot be built unless Ratner succeeds in wresting the properties from the plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs filed their original complaint in Oct. 2006. Their suit, Goldstein et al v. Pataki et a, named former Governor Pataki, Mayor Bloomberg, the Empire State Development Corp., Bruce Ratner and others as defendants. The plaintiffs argued that the use of eminent domain for the Atlantic Yards project violates the US Constitution because the taking of their property is not primarily for the public’s benefit. In 2005 the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in the eminent domain case Kelo v. The City of New London. The plaintiffs, utilizing the majority’s decision in Kelo, are asking the Supreme Court to take their case and believe that the evidence will show that their homes and businesses are being sacrificed for Ratner’s benefit, not the public’s.

Although there have been recent questions as to the delay of the Atlantic Yards due to a slowing economy and continuing court cases, an FCRC spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that “we do not believe the previous decisions raise any issues that warrant review by the Supreme Court.” He adds that the company expects to break ground on the $950-million basketball arena for the Nets later this year. In a GlobeSt.com article on March 25, the FCRC spokesperson told GlobeSt.com that the current business environment “will not determine the final face of this project or deny the borough and the city its many benefits, including the thousands of units of affordable housing.”

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