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John R. Casolaro

John R. Casolaro



Illustrative Matters

Client

Descriptions

NYS Urban Development Corp.   d/b/a Empire State Development

2007-Present. Successfully defended constitutional and statutory challenge to use of eminent domain and blight findings (Columbia University/Manhattanville Project).   Represented ESD in development of general project plan, agreements with sponsor, acquisition of properties by eminent domain, obtaining possession of acquired properties through Writs of Assistance, and in valuation proceedings involving the acquired properties. Kaur v. NYS Urban Dev. Corp., 15 N.Y.3d 235.

City of New York and Metropolitan Transportation Authority

2005-Present. Represent the City of New York and the MTA in connection with the Hudson Yards − No. 7 Subway Line Extension Project, including: successful defense of EDPL § 207 challenge to exercise of eminent domain power in connection with 300-acre redevelopment project on the west side of Manhattan (C/S 12th Avenue v. City, 32 A.D.3d 1); representation on motion for interpretation of EDPL 304 (A) seeking additional interest (21 Misc. 3d 1132(A)); representation in trial to determine zoning to apply in valuation of properties (City v. Zahav, 106 A.D.3d 418); representation in connection with dismissal of fixture claim where fee and fixture claimants were related entities (City v. Am. Pipe and Tank, 94 A.D.3d 566); representation in connection with fee and fixture valuation claims and acquisitions, Stages 1 through 9.

Suffolk County

2015-Present. Represent the county of Suffolk in connection with the Fire Island dune and berm project (the “FIMI Project”) involving acquisition of hundreds of easements and dozens of fee acquisitions to allow the creation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of a 12.5-mile sand berm and dune project. Representation included appearances in state court acquisition proceedings and in federal court defending against claims that the county violated due process and equal protection rights of certain ocean front owners.

City of New York

2009-2016. Represented the City of New York, as successor to the Queens West Development Corp., in connection with fee and fixture claims involving the acquisition of a 7.2-acre tennis facility along the East River waterfront in Long Island City. After a successful motion dismissing the fixture claim at the trial level, and an appeal ordering a trial (121 A.D.3d 903 (2d Dep’t 2014)), the fixture claim was settled on very favorable terms. Mr. Casolaro acted as lead trial counsel in connection with a fee claim by the former owner of the property for additional compensation which, with interest, exceeded $140 million. After a 21-day trial the court rejected the claimants’ highest and best use determination and arrived at a value based on the City’s appraiser’s use. The decision was affirmed on appeal. Queens West Dev. Corp. v. Nixbot Realty, 139 A.D.3d 863 (2d Dep’t 2016)

City of New York and New York City Economic Development Corp.

2007-Present. Represent the City of New York and the NYC EDC in connection with the Willets Point Development Plan. Representation included advice in connection with public hearing, opposition to EDPL § 207 challenge to the Project, and opposition to request for attorney’s fees. Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, dismissing substantial portion of attorney’s fees claim. (Serrone v. City, 128 A.D.3d 1049 (2d Dep’t 2015)).

NYS Urban Development Corp.   d/b/a Empire State Development

Secured the suspension of interest accruing on any award which might be issued to a former property owner on account of its delay in filing appraisals. NYS Urban Dev. Corp. v. P.G. Singh Enterprises, 111 A.D.3d 537 (1st Dep’t 2013).

NYS Urban Development Corp.   d/b/a Empire State Development

2006-2011. Represented condemning authority in Supreme Court trials of various fee and fixture claims relating to the 42nd Street/Times Square Development Project.   One such claim was decided in NYS Urban Dev. Corp. v. 230 West 41st St. Assocs., 24 Misc. 3d 1224(A), aff’d, 77 A.D.3d 479 (1st Dep’t 2010).

Port Authority of NY and NJ

2009-2011. Represented PANYNJ in connection with the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Project, involving two proposed railroad tunnels under the Hudson River.

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Successfully defended EDPL § 207 challenge to exercise of eminent domain power in connection with the New York Stock Exchange Project. In re Fisher, 287 A.D.2d 262.

NYS Urban Development Corp. d/b/a Empire State Dev. Corp.

Successfully defended UDC against claim that condemnation would violate constitutional rights of property owner, violate SEQRA and violate ULURP requirements, in connection with the East River Plaza Project. East Harlem Business & Residence Alliance v. Empire State Dev., 273 A.D.2d 33.

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Successfully defended taxpayer suit (GML § 51) in N.Y. Supreme Court and original proceeding in Appellate Division (EDPL § 207) challenging UDC’s exercise of its eminent domain power. Mr. Casolaro and the CL&M team also successfully defeated various applications to stay acquisition in the Supreme Court, Appellate Division and Court of Appeals. (42nd St. Development Project: West 41st St Realty v UDC, 298 A.D.2d 1; 193 Misc. 2d 290).

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Represented UDC in connection with the One Bryant Park Project, including opposition to EDPL § 207 challenge.

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Represented UDC in connection with the 7 World Trade Center Project, including opposition to EDPL § 207 challenge.

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Represented Charles Gargano, as Chairman of UDC, in an action brought in federal court asserting that (a) the EDPL was unconstitutional due to the absence of a requirement that notices be mailed to interested parties, (b) that the UDC failed to provide adequate notice to plaintiff, and (c) the East River Plaza Project lacked a proper public purpose. The claims against Mr. Gargano were defeated.   2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14760 (SDNY 2001)

NYS Urban Development Corp.

Represented UDC in connection with the East 13th Street H.E.L.P Project, including opposition to EDPL § 207 challenge which involved constitutional and statutory challenge to enabling legislation and actions of UDC in trial level, intermediate and highest appellate court in the state, leading to seminal decision on standing in eminent domain proceedings under EDPL § 207. (East 13th Street v. UDC, 84 N.Y.2d 287 and East 13th Street v. NYS Housing Fin. Agency, 218 A.D.2d 512).

Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Represented the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a valuation proceeding relating to 52 acres of land acquired by the MTA via eminent domain for a Metro-North commuter parking lot, including an appeal from the award. Matter of MTA (Longridge Assocs.), 122 A.D.3d 856 (2d Dep’t 2014).

NYS Dormitory Authority

Represented condemning authority in connection with various phases of the Baruch College Expansion Project condemnation proceedings. Obtained summary judgment dismissing claim by statutory tenant under rent regulations for compensation when building was acquired by eminent domain. DASNY v. Davis, 182 Misc. 2d 565, aff’d, 276 A.D.2d 284.

Education

  • B. Engr. (civil), 1974 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (cum laude)
  • J.D., 1977 Syracuse University College of Law (cum laude; Editor, Syracuse Law Review)

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