Friday, November 27, 2009

`COLUMBIAGATE': Is Columbia University's West Harlem-Manhattanville Campus Expansion Project Illegal?--Part 16

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 15)

According Siegel’s January 21, 2009 petition:

“…Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] has cooperated in a developer driven project, conceived by Columbia, initiated by Columbia, configured and defined by Columbia to maximize its own private benefit, and timed and directed by Columbia.

“ESDC, together with Economic Development Corporation [EDC] and Department of City Planning [DCP], failed to prepare a carefully considered plan when it showed favoritism to Columbia over other development proposals, cooperating with it in secret to subvert prior public planning commitments, allowing Columbia to choose the dual prong re-zoning and General Project plan [GPP] strategy, and assisting Columbia in developing such a strategy so as to maximize Columbia’s chances of realizing its maximal private benefit…”

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