Today, Representative Yvette Clarke released the following statement on recent developments regarding the Atlantic Yards project and the involvement of Barclays Bank.
“I have consistently given support to the Atlantic Yards project because of its real potential to significantly address the need for entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, as well as the affordable housing deficit that continues to grow each and everyday in Central Brooklyn.”
“However, my support for this project must not be interpreted as support at any cost. I fully embrace and recognize my responsibility to protect my constituents from ‘back-door’ deals and/or runaway developments that occur without community consultation and may in fact ask of us, a price too costly to pay. Barclays Bank has been brought into this equation under very questionable circumstances.”
“Barclays is a 400 year-old, $2 trillion, multinational financial empire that has been linked to Nazi Germany, Apartheid in South Africa and the transatlantic slave trade. Forest City Ratner Companies has fallen short of community expectations in fulfilling certain commitments. I am concerned about this marriage and its ramifications in meeting the expectations of the residents of Central Brooklyn. There has been a growing lack of sensitivity to community interests throughout this process. I have a duty, as a representative of arguably the largest Black community in North America, to voice concern when minority supporters are left in the dark about the arrival of an institution with such a troubling past.”
“Development at Atlantic Yards can only succeed as a true public and private sector partnership. My constituents have contacted me with deep concerns about Barclays’ history. Furthermore, my colleagues on Capitol Hill have inquired about this project offering guidance on how to best represent my constituents at the federal level. There are a range of issues including tax breaks and eminent domain that can only be addressed by multiple levels of government.”
“I believe this process can work but I will not allow my constituents to be taken for granted. This process must be inclusive, transparent and structured so that community stakeholders are active participants in making key decisions. In fact, I am investigating the need for congressional hearings on the impact of the Atlantic Yards development on my constituents. I have always stated that I will support this project as long as the benefits outweigh the burdens. I am concerned that Barclays’ may represent a burden that is too heavy to bear. The burden is on Forest City Ratner Companies, the Nets and Barclays Bank to respect our community and its leadership.”