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Court allows university to use eminent domain

ALBANY (AP) -- New York's top court on Thursday upheld a state redevelopment agency's use of eminent domain so Columbia University can expand its Ivy League campus over 17 acres in West Harlem.

The Court of Appeals said there was a rational basis for the Empire State Development Corp.'s findings that the area is blighted and Columbia's expansion constitutes a land use improvement project.

Columbia's proposed project, estimated in 2007 at $6.3 billion, includes up to 16 new buildings for housing, laboratories and other facilities, two acres of public open space, and tree-lined sidewalks.

School President Lee Bollinger said Thursday the project could take three to five decades to complete.


Charity for homeless shut down by judge

NEW YORK (AP) -- A homeless charity that was once ubiquitous in New York City's busiest tourist districts was permanently shut down this week by a judge over fraud allegations.

The United Homeless Organization was sued by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in November following years of complaints about its fundraising tactics.

Investigators said most of the money the charity collected in big plastic jugs was pocketed by workers and the group's founders.

A judge granted a motion to dissolve the group after it failed to respond to the lawsuit.


Skateboarder killed in crash with golf cart

SARANAC LAKE (AP) -- State police said Thursday a 19-year-old skateboarder died after being struck by a golf cart on an Adirondack road.

Police said Casey McHugh of Lake Clear was riding his skateboard lying on his back around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a golf cart in an intersection near Saranac Lake.

Police found the golf cart driver, Bernard Farley, 43, of Saranac Lake, at his home several hours after the accident. The Franklin County District Attorney's Office was investigating.

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