Sunday, November 29, 2009

`Columbiagate': Is Columbia University's West Harlem-Manhattanville Campus Expansion Project Illegal?--Part 18

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 17)

According Siegel’s January 21, 2009 petition:

“Empire State Development Corporation [ESDC] colluded with Columbia, asking it to provide a basis for the finding of blight and allowing it to create conditions that could be used to try and establish such a basis.

“ESDC colluded with Columbia in hiring Columbia’s consultant AKRF to perform the blight study, in tailoring with AKRF the methodology of such a study to achieve a predetermined result, and in allowing Columbia to participate in and control the gathering of evidence, and in allowing Columbia to review and direct such a study.

“ESDC engaged in deception in its allegations of the neutrality of Columbia’s consultant AKRF…ESDC engaged in deception in its repeated misrepresentation of what records it possessed in relation to the Columbia Project…

“…The City Planning Commission [CPC]…failed to consider impacts of the threatened use of eminent domain in driving sales to Columbia, and consequent loss of businesses and jobs, and in causing the neglect of building repairs, and in fueling speculative run up of real estate prices in the wider West Harlem area…”