Embattled Brooklyn apartment dwellers have taken their fight against the proposed site of the new arena for the "Brooklyn Nets" all the way to Athens. A group called Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn unveiled a banner on one of the endangered apartments which reads "Dr. Rogge and the International Olympic Committee, Please Don't Destroy Our Homes." If New York City is awarded the Olympic Games in 2012, the proposed basketball arena would be used to house the gymnastics competition. Local residents hope that by appealing to the International Olympic Committee, a new space for the arena can be found where the current populace wont be forced to give up their apartments via eminent domain.
According to the NY Daily News, Develop But Dont Destroy Brooklyns representatives and supporters "will press their case today at a City Hall press conference. Joining them will be several opponents of the proposed domed Jets stadium - which the city's Olympics bid envisions as the Olympic Stadium." David Goldstein, spokesman for Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, said the group will stress that the city's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics "should not be used to force people out of their homes to build unneeded and unwanted arenas."
The NBA approved the sale of the Nets to Ratner earlier this month despite lingering questions about his ability to raise the $300 million he agreed to pay for the franchise. NBA sources told the Daily News that the 30 NBA owners supported Ratner's bid because it is based on moving the team out of New Jersey, and were apparently undeterred by reports that Ratner has struggled to raise money to buy the Nets.
Today, the NY Post released a list of Ratners partners in the deal and according to the paper, "The crowded investment team is made up of 80 entities comprised of more than 200 individuals who have ponied up at least a million bucks apiece." They include mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark, disgraced ex-Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski, former head of Island Def Jam Music Group Lyor Cohen, Londell McMillan, a lawyer for Prince and Wesley Snipes and of course Shawn Carter, a k a Jay-Z. According to The Post, City Planning Commissioner Dolly Williams is also on the investor list. Williams was appointed to the City Planning Commission in 2002 by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, one of the project's biggest boosters. Gothamist wonders aloud if that isn't a conflict of interest.
Ratner hopes to have the Nets playing in Brooklyn by 2007 in a Frank Gehry-designed arena. However, after trading Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles, 40% their starting line up, for four draft picks, one has to wonder if the team will be worth watching by then.
More on The Nets and the Brooklyn Stadium from Gothamist.