Saturday, November 28, 2009

`COLUMBIAGATE': Is Columbia University's West Harlem-Manhattanville Campus Expansion Project Illegal?--Part 17

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 16)

According Siegel’s January 21, 2009 petition:

“Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] failed to prepare a carefully considered plan when it failed to determine the public purposes of the project prior to selection of Columbia for the overwhelming benefit of such a project.

“ESDC failed to prepare a carefully considered plan when it failed to consider any competing proposal to Columbia’s General Project Plan [GPP], including as-of-right development under the Community Board [CB] 9 197 (a) plan.

“ESDC failed to prepare a carefully considered plan when it placed no limitation on Columbia’s GPP…limiting its displacement of current West Harlem business and residents or preventing it from defeating the intent of the community as expressed in the CB 9 197 (a) plan.

“ESDC made no effort to achieve public benefits proportional to the private benefits likely to flow from Columbia’s proposal.

“ESDC, together with NYC Economic Development Corporation [EDC], Department of City Planning [DEP], the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Development, the New York City Law Department and other agencies worked to keep planning secret…and time the project for Columbia’s convenience and political advantage…”