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21 December 2009

Mayer Brown secures major appellate win for NY real estate developer East River Realty Company, LLC

New York, 21 December, 2009 - Mayer Brown, a leading global law firm, won a significant victory for East River Realty Company, when the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of East River in its efforts to enforce an environmental cleanup agreement with the State of New York.

In Matter of East Riv. Realty Co., LLC v. New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation, the appellate court ruled yesterday that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) must honor a prior agreement with East River for three parcels along the East River it plans to develop. The ruling potentially entitles East River to tax benefits worth approximately $250 million.

East River is pursuing a $4 billion development on the former Con Edison site, located near United Nations headquarters, and applied for participation in the State's Brownfield Program in connection with the site's environmental cleanup. The three parcels were extensively contaminated after a century of industrial use, including as a power generating station. East River's request was initially granted by DEC, but later reversed and by the agency, forcing East River to seek relief in the courts.

A Mayer Brown team led by partner Richard Ben-Veniste and including partner Miriam Nemetz successfully argued the appeal before the appellate court. In its decision, the court rejected DEC's arguments, noting that East River had demonstrated its eligibility for the Brownfield Cleanup Program, and ordered DEC to reinstate East River into the program.

''We are very pleased by the court's decision to require the State to abide by the terms of the statute and provide East River with the benefits to which it is entitled under the Brownfield Cleanup Program,'' said Ms. Nemetz.

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