Some updates on the Willets Point reclamation project:
At the end of June, it was leaked that The New York City Economic Development Corporation published a formal request for "on-call" condemnation attorneys to aid with the development of Willets Point.
This means the EDC is asking lawyers to research property valuation and eminent domain litigation in advance of claiming eminent domain on the 250 businesses in the Iron Triangle.
This made those business owners a bit angry, which is to be expected. The government has essentially hired attorneys to validate how they can claim this land and parcel it out in the form of rich contracts to developers, who in turn build big, expensive hotels, restaurants and apartments.
Last week, protestors from Willets Point and Brooklyn’s Atlantic yards staged a protest at City Hall against “eminent domain abuse."
The demonstrators displayed signs such as "Willets Point: Playground for the Politically Connected Developer" and the motto, "Eminent Domain Abuse" with a line drawn through the words like a no-smoking sign.
The protest took place on the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London. The high court ruled that the Connecticut city could seize a homeowner's residence to make way for a municipal improvement project.
Since that decision, 38 states have acted to reform eminent domain legislation although New York has not done so with critics maintaining that eminent domain is being invoked to help private entities whose projects are not intended to benefit the public.
"We haven't seen this level of eminent domain abuse since the Robert Moses era," said Luma Michelle Rolley, an activist and operator of the Web site nolandgrab.org.
It should be noted that without Robert Moses, there probably wouldn’t be a Shea Stadium.