Federal tax returns filed by Develop, Don't Destroy Brooklyn, the leading opponent of Atlantic Yards, show total revenues for the group have been in steady decline since 2007.
Specifically, the returns, called Form 990's, show the group's revenues, mostly from fund raising, dropped from $366,163 in 2007 to $293,952 in 2008 and $161,834 last year...a decrease of more than 55% at a time when its legal efforts were peaking. In addition, the group's money on hand at year's end has dropped even more dramatically, from $138,054 in 2007 to $20,757 in 2008 before taking a slight uptick to $27,749 this year. During those three years, DDDB paid out more than $850,000 in total expenses, most of it--$644,070--in legal fees to the firms fighting eminent domain cases in federal and state courts.
In addition to legal fees, the group spend money mostly on fund-raising and events: t-shirts and buttons, signs and banners; as well as management services: computer software and services printing expenses, etc. Management compensation and fees totaled nearly $100,000 over the past three years. Although Daniel Goldstein, the face of DDDB, does not receive compensation, the tax returns show Shabnam Merchant, his wife, has received compensation. The two were married in 2007 after working together at DDDB, he as spokesman, she as director of fund-raising
The latest return was for the fiscal year ending June 30 of last year and filed with the IRS in November. It was not publicly available until this week on Guidestar, the website that gathers and publicizes information about nonprofit organizations. . No subsequent data will be available for another year when the group files its next tax returns.
Atlantic Yards Report, which chronicles opposition to the project reported Tuesday that in October, after the IRS reporting deadline, DDDB took in some $40,000 at its fifth "Walk Don't Destroy" walkathon. Also, it reported recent national publicity about the controversy "generated some new donors" but did not provide details. Goldstein told AYR's Norman Oder last night that DDDB has enough money to continue its remaining cases, "and we continue to raise money from the community." However, Oder added, "Within the year, however, DDDB will have to reassess whether and how it can continue".