The documentary Battle for Brooklyn opens this Friday, June 17th, at Cinema Village in Manhattan and at indieScreen in Brooklyn. The film Battle for Brooklyn captures a community's seven-year fight to stop the use of eminent domain to take their homes and businesses for the construction of a mixed-use development including a basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets and commercial towers. It is a compelling story about the abuse of eminent domain and how this awesome power intended for the public good can destroy a community, literally. We saw the film at a preview screening held at the ALI-ABA Eminent Domain conference in Miami in February. (See our previous posts about the film here and here.)
Since then the film made its world premier at the prestigious Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto and won Best Documentary and the Grand Chameleon Award last weekend at the Brooklyn Film Festival. It has received acclaim from the press, property rights advocates, and the general public and truly demonstrates that some things in life are certainly worth the fight.
If you're in NYC this weekend and haven't seen Battle for Brooklyn, yet, check it out. Show times are 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00 and 9:15 pm Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19.
In this interview with Dbusiness Magazine, attorney Darius Dynkowski* discusses the procedures and laws of eminent domain with respect to the proposed New International Trade Crossing, also known as the Detroit-Windsor Bridge. He explains what residents and business owners in the footprint of the project site can expect if and when the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) begins acquiring property for this proposed project.
The proposed Detroit-Windsor Bridge would span the Detroit River connecting Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario with a second toll bridge containing six lanes. The only current international bridge crossing between Michigan and Canada is the 82-year old Ambassador Bridge which contains four lanes and is considered the busiest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
While there is opposition to the bridge project, the question of whether the use of eminent domain to acquire the necessary private property to construct the bridge is a genuine public purpose is not the basis for this opposition. If the Michigan legislature passes the proper legislation to enable the State to acquire property for the project, then the question of public purpose will become moot. However, any condemning authority granted eminent domain powers will still need to follow the proper procedures and laws to acquire private property. Further as Mr. Dynkoswki explains in the interview, the condemning authority will need to pay property owners "just compensation" for the acquisition of homes and businesses in the project area near I-75 and Dragoon. For a business owner just compensation can include the costs associated with relocation of the business (including trade fixtures and equipment) as well as compensable losses resulting from the taking of the business property.
Form more details about the Detroit-Windsor Bridge Project see also:
*Disclosure: Darius Dynkowski, a partner with Ackerman, Ackerman & Dynkowski in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is the Michigan member of the Owners' Counsel of America. Mr. Dynkowski and the firm focus upon defending private property owners threatened by eminent domain throughout Michigan.
OCA is a network of experienced eminent domain and property rights lawyers from across the country who seek to advance, preserve and defend the rights of private property owners, large and small, locally and nationally. Membership with Owners' Counsel is highly selective and is
awarded by invitation only. Affiliation with OCA is available to only one attorney from each state.
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