‘Betrayed’ workers to sue Ratner today

The Brooklyn Paper
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A group of unemployed construction workers is suing Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner to recover lost wages for jobs that they claim they were promised but never received at the $5-billion Prospect Heights megaproject.

The workers will announce the federal lawsuit this morning in Fort Greene, steps from the under-construction Barclays Center.

Ratner once boasted that the 22-acre project would create 1,500 jobs per year over a 10-year buildout, but roughly 700 people are currently at work on the arena.

The paltry numbers have prompted disgruntled workers — who backed the project during its approval process five years ago — to rally regularly for jobs.

The 19,000-seat arena will be completed next summer, but the larger 16-tower development is on hold. Ratner has vowed to begin one residential building next year.

A spokesman for the developer was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday night.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene), a longtime foe of the project, said she sympathized with the workers.

“They were led to believe that they would get a job at Atlantic Yards,” James said. “They feel betrayed.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
Screw them they deserve what they got, they were in bed with the RAT at the time. people i know got Evicted so i hope they don't get a dime.
Nov. 15, 2011, 3:38 am
Norman Oder says:
The term "unemployed construction workers" could be more specific.

They were workers who went through a competitive training program (limited to 36) promised as part of the Community Benefits Agreement, a program that was aimed "to train Community residents for construction jobs within the Arena and Project."

More here:
Nov. 15, 2011, 9:23 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Mrs James and friends we were also promised 40Acres & a Mule. You all gonna sue for that too? Glad to see you're finally sticking up for the little guy in your District. Shock though I shouldn't be you went the legal route.

From the beginning you & the other obstructionist have tilted things in Ratner's favor to the detriment of those this entire project minus Barclays Center was purported to benefit. Which was why I supported it Gehry Design)

At each end someone gets paid off (DDDB $3mil minor benefit), Ratner moved forward (Major Benefit)

Now this, to benefit a few their lawyers (Minor Benefit) and shame Ratner (Minor Benefit), because the building is nearing completion without affordable housing(Major Benefit to Ratner)

This wasn't just a job for some it was a career path, so they get some $ at the this end, but what after that $ is gone? (Major Lost to Community).

Don't get blind people, Atlantic Yards in my opinion, is a perfect example of how our Elected Leaders operates to favor the TOP 1%. Ratner , JZ & Bondholders (Major Winners).
Nov. 15, 2011, 10:42 am
Dave from Park Slope says:

Time to get off the sauce, don't you think? You're making even less sense than usual (though you did nail it in that last paragraph).
Nov. 15, 2011, 12:05 pm
Frank from Clinton Hill says:
These people were lied to from the word go, but then they were told that as part of their "training" they had to go to Staten Island and do demolition and renovation on the house of a friend of the head of BUILD, the organization Ratner created and that had lied to all these people all this time.

When someone tells you to work somewhere and doesn't pay you...didn't we use to call that slavery? I hope they get Ratner and all his flunkies for this!
Nov. 15, 2011, 12:21 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am glad that another group of supporters are finally waking up to no longer believe what they have been fed. However, they are sort of late on that. Had they known this sooner, they could have made something then. Nevertheless, I am glad that another suit is aimed at Ratner. I hope that this places a stop work order, and places a stay on all current construction, which can really start throwing a wrench in the process.
Nov. 15, 2011, 7:33 pm
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
Throw a monkey wrench in it and deny those working there a paycheck? Foolish!
Nov. 16, 2011, 10:15 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
This project shouldn't have been built period. If it does get stopped before being done, then good riddance. Why should our tax dollars be going to this when there are more important things that need it more? Subsidizing private developers is a bad idea, not a good idea. Don't give me that this will create a lot of jobs, because I have been following this, and it was nothing but a lie in the end hence the lawsuit that they are placing. Ratner is NOT a saviour, he is a developer and nothing more. Sports facilites aren't economic engines to begin with, and de Mause disproved that.
Nov. 16, 2011, 3:41 pm
common sense from bay ridge says:
@Tal: Stop work order?!?! That's the funniest thing I've heard all day. If you ever came to Brooklyn, you would realize that AY is about half finished. Go Nyets!!!
Nov. 16, 2011, 10:31 pm
Josef from dwntwn bklyn says:
1. Norman Oder's point is well-taken and if that information in the main article it would not have gone amiss.

2. Cynthia applies empathy only to one side of the equation in this matter. I am not in favor of using eminent domain to benefit private projects like Atlantic Yards and so was disappointed that people were evicted, but I also would like a local basketball stadium to exist, and it is clear that the city as a whole is short of housing so residential towers are nothing to sneeze at.

3. Tal is partially correct - for private developers to receive subsidies (not to mention sweetheart land deals from the MTA) they should have to provide much more substantial public benefits - something on the order of 33% low income housing, 33% middle income housing, 33% market rate housing, plus public park space and infrastructure build-out to handle increased demand for public services - police station, fire station, electrical/sewer/subway/roadway upgrades.

4. Tal - de Mause "disproved that" "[s]ports facilities aren't economic engines to being with"? So you contend he's in favor of sports facilities? You completely misrepresent Neil deMause's position because your grammar is woeful.

5. I think the ideal outcome would be if this case resulted in Mr. Ratner's entire fortune being confiscated and used to improve the infrastructure of the Atlantic Terminal area, with a new plan (still including the stadium; Go Nyets!) developed by local stakeholders with the assistance of Pratt experts and an emphasis on benefits for the people as per #3 above. Of course, while we're dreaming I would also like a villa in Tuscany.
Nov. 17, 2011, 1:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Joseph, I meant to say that de Mause proved that they weren't economic engines, not that they were, so maybe I should have said that differently, so sorry for the typo there.
Nov. 17, 2011, 11:27 pm
youngking from brookyln says:
ratner is a slave master and cardwell is his overseerer he told them when they ask him about the jobs he would say that if he was a white man they would not ask him anything so he should be here with them too but the saying dont bite the hand that feed you is right
Nov. 19, 2011, 7:54 pm

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