Kool Herc – not the legendary DJ but a man with the same name – and a Brooklyn based organization known as Da Black Defense League have filed a $5 billion lawsuit against Jay-Z, real estate developer Bruce Ratner and Barclay’s British Bank, all in connection with the Atlantic Yards project.
In the filed claim, Herc said that Mr. Ratner and Jay-Z worked “in concert” with Barclays, and “profited from the African Slave Trade and continue to profit from these gains, through a conspiracy dating back hundreds of years and continue to date to oppress Black people, enslave them, unlawfully deport them to all corners of the Earth.”
The Atlantic Yards project, a $4 billion investment, would include a basketball arena for the Nets, more than 6,000 apartments, middle-income housing, commercial offices, retail establishments, and a boutique hotel – all located within downtown Brooklyn.
Bruce Ratner, president and CEO of the New York division of Forest City Enterprises and currently the real estate developer for the project, has been accused of having links with the slave trade through Barclay’s Bank. Ratner, who also co-owns the the New Jersey Nets with Jay-Z, a huge supporter and endorser of the project, plans to bring the Nets to Brooklyn upon the construction of the Arena.
The Barclays Center, which would be the new home for the NBA team New Jersey Nets, was named after Barclays Bank, who purchased the naming rights to the arena for a price of nearly $400 million over a 20 year span.
Herc and members of Da Black Defense League, filed the “claim of lien” in October. Barclay’s Bank denies the accusations that have been made along with Forest City Ratner, who dismissed the claim as not having any legal merit.
A representative from Da Black Defense League is proceeding to file a lawsuit in court today and has called for a boycott of the New Jersey Nets.
Herc and Da Black Defense League are not the only opponents in the development of the Atlantic Yards Project. New York City Council member Letitia James and many organizations such as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, the Washington D.C. based National Trust for Historic Preservation and Democracy for New York City (DFNYC) have all expressed their opposition to the project.
A spokesman for Forest City Ratner has declined to make any comments.
Reported By Krysten Hughes