Willets Point businesses hound city for legal fees

TRD New York /
Feb.February 12, 2013 12:00 PM

After a lengthy eminent domain battle over Queens’ Willets Point, local business owners are still demanding that the city pay their legal fees, which tally in excess of $1 million, the New York Daily News reported. According to attorneys for the businesses, the city became obligated to reimburse their opponents’ legal fees after dropping a bid for the site in favor of another 23-acre development parcel near Citi Field last June.

“The statute is very clear,” said attorney Michael Gerrard, who is seeking more than $609,000 for work that his firm, Arnold & Porter, performed. “If the city abandons the condemnation, the parties whose lands were being condemned are entitled to their legal fees.”

Gerrard referred to Section 702 of New York State’s eminent domain law, which states that if the “procedure to acquire such property is abandoned by the condemnor … the condemnor shall be obligated to reimburse the condemnee.”

However, Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp., has stated in court documents that the city did not drop its Willets Point bid, but simply augmented it to move it forward. The new mixed-use development is being handled by the Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Sterling Equities and the Related Companies, which will feature retail, entertainment and affordable housing.

“If that’s not abandonment, I don’t know what is. I find their arguments amusing,” Michael Rikon, an attorney for the businesses, said. [NYDN] —Christopher Cameron


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Michael Bloomberg (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Love, hate, and real estate: Bloomberg’s record may polarize voters

Massive Willets Point development site hits the market

Massive Willets Point development site hits the market

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 17:  A puddle fills a major intersection on June 17, 2013 in the Willet's Point neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Willet's Point Neighborhood, also known as the Iron Triangle, is situated directly next to Citi Field, where the Met's play baseball, and is known for both its car repair shops and lack of paved roads. The future of the neighborhood has been a contentious issue between residents and the city, as the city hopes to further develop the land despite protests from its residents.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

New plans for Willets Point could cost taxpayers more

Two Willets Point industrial properties are now up for sale

Two Willets Point industrial properties are now up for sale

To move forward, Willets Point developers might have to create 47 acres of parkland

To move forward, Willets Point developers might have to create 47 acres of parkland

Willets Point mall project needs state approval to move forward, court rules

Willets Point mall project needs state approval to move forward, court rules

De Blasio administration reverses course and supports Willets Point mall project

De Blasio administration reverses course and supports Willets Point mall project

Citi Field Stadium inset: John Tavares)

Islanders, Sterling Equities in talks to build Queens arena: report

arrow_forward_ios