Daniel Goldstein, last Yards holdout, speaks!

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

For nearly seven years, at considerable personal risk, I used my home to fight the abuse of eminent domain and Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. Without my home, the misguided project — opposed by a fierce community movement I came to lead — could not happen. With no democratic political process available to the community, the not-so-simple act of keeping my home was the best way I could affect what was clearly a fixed deal.

But I never promised to be an ineffectual martyr.

On March 1, the state took title to my home, effectively ending the possibility of winning the fight on eminent domain grounds. Those who wish to deem me a “sellout” are flatly wrong. After condemnation, I had nothing meaningful left to sell that might affect the fight or achieve a single one of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn’s goals.

The state sought a court order to evict me on May 17. Facing that — and a judge who wanted the parties to resolve the eviction — I agreed to leave on May 7 rather than the 17. Ratner also demanded a gag order and complete disassociation from DDDB. I refused both demands, affirming my First Amendment rights.

The media, agape at the settlement figures — though never agape at the size of Ratner’s public subsidy — missed some key things last week:

In the past six years, Ratner’s representatives approached me four times, offering to buy me out in exchange for my abandoning key eminent domain litigation, which threatened their project. Each time, they knew that the opposition to Atlantic Yards would suffer a huge blow if I sold my home.

Their most recent approach came early this year, before the final eminent domain court hearing, but after I had learned that the state’s “just compensation” offer would be just half the market value of my home — a gut-wrenching offer. I resisted any settlement in exchange for dropping litigation that would affect the outcome of the fight.

I rejected a settlement every time I met with Ratner’s people, instead offering to help facilitate a negotiation with the community about the project. That, however, was of no interest to them.

So, what was of interest to them last week? Was it an attempt to buy my silence, which would, at this stage, provide them very little value? They would like the public to believe that was their goal.

But for all the frothing in the media, I’m not aware of a single analysis as to why Ratner agreed to the settlement he did. It had nothing to do with some pressing matter of public interest, nor speeding the building of affordable housing.

There was one overarching reason they paid me to leave early. Basketball.

The court was unlikely to agree to an accelerated eviction date of May 17 — it would be just a few days after the state would by paying me its original “just compensati­on.”

However, the billionaire Russian oligarch, Mikhail Prokhorov, could not assume ownership of the Nets, nor prepare for the NBA draft and free-agent market, in his effort to rebuild the NBA’s worst team until my apartment was vacated.

The state’s May 17 eviction date may have appeared arbitrary, but May 18 is the NBA draft lottery, and Prokhorov wanted to be at that lottery. That’s not what ESDC or Ratner told the judge or the press last week. But that was their motivation.

As to why the state thought it so important to evict my family and me on Prokhorov’s NBA schedule, so he could encrust his plaything with diamonds, is something that speaks for itself.

Daniel Goldstein is former spokesman of Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, and more commentary can be seen here. He will be moving out of his Pacific Street condo before May 7.

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

karl the druid from prospect heights says:
through a trial by fire were borne true heros

such as goldstein and those who fought on principal

against a greedy wealthy giant

and his self serving pets

the mocking vulgarity that follows

is only the short lived smoke from puffing cowards
April 27, 2010, 10:45 am
Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
Norm will be writing about Daniel looking in the classifieds.
April 27, 2010, 8:21 pm
Jason Kidd from Dallas says:
Norm just double dribbled
April 27, 2010, 8:25 pm
anonymouscoward from brooklyn says:
anonymous cowards, how droll of you.

Proky for Preznit!
April 27, 2010, 9:15 pm
karl the druid from prospect heights says:
yes, puff on with such a brilliance

yet such brilliance only reflects

but will never will never outshine your leader,

the constellation bertha lewis

shine on you crazy diamonds

may you always be as smart
April 27, 2010, 11:42 pm
JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
The courtjester!!! Please take one last bow. There are people in shelters tonite because of your mindless, 7year belch.
April 28, 2010, 12:01 am
karl the druid from prospect heights says:
there were people were kicked out of the very

prospect heights shelter that fcr tore down

April 28, 2010, 8:08 am
Jerry25 from formally from Marine Park says:
It appears that Daniel Goldstein is the first Free Agent of the Prokhorov era.
The team spent $4 million on Jamaal Magloire a few years ago.
April 28, 2010, 1 pm
al from texas says:
from...well,, watched the documentary..last nite.
Sounds like you fought....but at what price..$ 3 million..? sounds like you won! Bought new place for $850, 000 or so..Dan...Dan, was going to say move to Texas...but...PLEASE..DO NOT!! Glad u fought..and seems u a money sense and found a wife.
If you do move here..PLEASE leave ur voting preferences in NY. Seems u kept voting for Bloomie, Schummer, SAME guys who screwed you over!! move here and vote same insane crap?
We have less...way less taxes...less BS. So, if you some research..or don't come!!
Nov. 26, 2012, 6:25 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: