Thursday, April 3, 2014

Oral Arguments on FreshDirect Case Monday, April 7


Oral Arguments on FreshDirect Case
Monday, April 7
Bronx Supreme Court, 

851 Grand Concourse

8:30 am | Rally/Press Conference  

Gather on the steps of 

the Bronx Supreme Court facing 161st Street

9:30 am | Oral Arguments 

  Judge Brigantti-Hughes’s Court | Room 702

The community effort to challenge FreshDirect’s proposed move to the South
 Bronx continues! Still before the Court is the legal claim challenging the 
New York State Department of Transportation’s (DOT) approval of the 
sublease of public land to FreshDirect in violation of the State Constitution 
because the FreshDirect project eviscerates the public purpose of this 
state-owned land. Originally, Judge Brigantti-Hughes dismissed the claim on
 the grounds that the complaint alleged no DOT involvement in the 
conveyance to FreshDirect. However, after the Judge issued her opinion, facts 
became available to us establishing DOT’s involvement in the conveyance, 
thus providing us with the opportunity to seek permission to amend our
 complaint and move forward with our constitutional claim. Oral arguments
 on Monday will address the new facts showing DOT's involvement in
approving the FreshDirect project. Join us!
* * *
FreshDirect also faces numerous additional hurdles before it could
break ground at Harlem River Yards. For example, in order for 
portions of an approximately a $50 million subsidy package to be 
awarded by the board of the Empire State Development 
Corporation, the state must hold a public hearing. In a sign of
 how difficult that approval could be, three months ago at the 
behest of board member and South Bronx Congressman 
 Serrano, the Empowerment Zone board (housed at the 
ESDC) denied FreshDirect $3.5 million in subsidies. In addition, 
zoning regulations do not allow the project to proceed
 as proposed, requiring a Uniform Land Use Review 
Procedure process to take place, along with related public hearings.
FreshDirect also faces setbacks that may impact its proposed move, 
 including a class action lawsuit filed last week against the company 
by workers claiming that the company improperly withheld more 
than $23 million in overtime wages and tips. In addition, Fresh
Direct's sole international shareholder, UK grocer Morrison’s, 
will sell its share in the company following an 11% drop in profits.

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