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State to holdouts: What’s yours is ours

The Brooklyn Paper
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Dear interested party: Bruce Ratner is taking your home.

More than 30 property owners within the footprint of the developer’s Atlantic Yards project were told this week that state officials had commenced eminent domain proceedings — beginning the condemnation of private property for the $4-billion residential, office and arena project before it even wins final approval.

The jargon-heavy letter — whose salutation was “Dear interested party” — told owners they had until only Jan. 11 to seek “judicial review” of the “determinat­ion” that the state could take their property and turn it over to Ratner.

No condemnations can take place until the state’s Public Authorities Control Board approves the mega-development. It is expected to consider the plan on Wednesday.

Lawyers said the condemnation notice would be moot if the PACB rejects the project.

The condemnations could also be blocked by a federal suit filed in October on behalf of 10 businesses and residents within the 22-acre site where Ratner plans to build.

One could-be-evictee said the notice hadn’t yet reached him, but the news had.

“I saw my property [on the list],” said Henry Weinstein, who owns a building on Pacific Street and on one Carlton Avenue.

Weinstein, who is planning his own lawsuit, copped a line from actor and gun owner Charlton Heston: “If Mr. Ratner wants my deeds, he will have to pry them from my cold dead fingers,” he said.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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