Thursday, November 26, 2009

`COLUMBIAGATE': Is Columbia University's West Harlem-Manhattanville Campus Expansion Project Illegal?--Part 15

In a January 21, 2009 petition to the First Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, a New York City civil liberties lawyer named Norman Siegel presented the legal case against New York State’s Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] allowing the Columbia University Administration to move forward on its 17-acre campus expansion project in the West Harlem-Manhattanville neighborhood, just north of West 125th Street. (See below for parts 1 to 14)

According Siegel’s January 21, 2009 petition:

“…Article I, section 7 of the New York State Constitution and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution limit takings to public use. Under the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Kelo v. City of New London, the majority limited the reliance upon economic development as public use, benefit or purpose to projects that are the result of a carefully considered plan. 54 U.S. 469, 478.

“The deciding concurring opinion of Justice Kennedy further required courts to be vigilant against pretextual purposes and favoritism in developer driven development projects…

“The stated public use, benefit or purpose of redeveloping a substandard and insanitary, or blighted, area is null and void because the finding that the Manhattanville industrial area was blighted was made in bad faith, in error of law, and without basis, and what blight-like symptoms are present are overwhelmingly caused, maintained or exacerbated by Columbia with Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC]’s knowledge and consent…

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