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Thread: Eminent Domain in New London: Another Outrage!

  1. #1
    meat popsicle Zilog B's Avatar
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    Jun 2001

    Eminent Domain in New London: Another Outrage!

    A New (London) Low
    A refrigerator box under the bridge: The Kelo Seven prepares for the worst

    by Jonathan O'Connell - July 14, 2005

    Those who believe in the adage "when it rains, it pours" might take the tale of the plaintiffs in Kelo v. New London as a cue to buy two of every animal and a load of wood from Home Depot. The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the city's original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent. It's a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation.
    In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000 .

    The hard rains started falling that year, when Matt Dery and his neighbors in Fort Trumbull learned that the city planned to replace their homes with a hotel, a conference center, offices and upscale housing that would complement the adjoining Pfizer Inc. research facility.

    The city, citing eminent domain, condemned their homes, told them to move and began leveling surrounding houses. Dery and six of his neighbors fought the takeover, but five years later, on June 23, the downpour of misfortune continued as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the city could claim the property for economic development.

    Dery owns four buildings on the project site, including his home and the birthplace and lifelong home of his 87-year-old mother, Wilhelmina. Dery plans to make every remaining effort to keep his land, but with few legal options remaining, he's planning for the worst.

    And for good reason. It's reasonable to think that people who purchased property years ago (in some cases, decades ago) would be in a position to cash in, especially since they're being forced from their homes. But that's not the case.

    The New London Development Corp., the semi-public organization hired by the city to facilitate the deal, is offering residents the market rate as it was in 2000, as state law requires. That rate pales in comparison to what the units are now worth, owing largely to the relentless housing bubble that has yet to burst.

    "I can't replace what I have in this market for three times [the 2000 assessment]," says Dery, 48, who works as a home delivery sales manager for the New London Day . He soothes himself with humor: "It's a lot like what I like to do in the stock market: buy high and sell low."

    And there are more storms on the horizon. In June 2004, NLDC sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive "use and occupancy" payments (also known as "rent") from the residents.

    In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. Any money made from tenantssome residents' only form of incomewould also have to be paid to the city.

    With language seemingly lifted straight from The Goonies , NLDC's lawyers wrote, "We know your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free, or rent out that property and pocket the profits, if they ultimately lost the case." They warned that "this problem will only get worse with the passage of time," and that the city was prepared to sue for the money if need be.

    A lawyer for the residents, Scott Bullock, responded to the letter on July 8, 2004, asserting that the NLDC had agreed to forgo rents as part of a pretrial agreement in which the residents in turn agreed to a hastened trial schedule. Bullock called the NLDC's effort at obtaining back rent "a new low."

    "It seems like it is simply a desperate attempt by a nearly broke organization to try to come up with more funds to perpetuate its own existence," Bullock wrote. He vowed to respond to any lawsuit with another.

    With the case nearly closed, the NLDC may soon make good on its promise to sue. Jeremy Paul, an associate UConn law dean who teaches property law, says it's not clear who might prevail in a legal battle over rent. "From a political standpoint, the city might be better off trying to reach some settlement with the homeowners," he says.

    An NLDC estimate assessed Dery for $6,100 per month since the takeover, a debt of more than $300K. One of his neighbors, case namesake Susette Kelo, who owns a single-family house with her husband, learned she would owe in the ballpark of 57 grand. "I'd leave here broke," says Kelo. "I wouldn't have a home or any money to get one. I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge."

    That's one way to get out of the rain.

    I can't believe this crap. Freedom is lost.
    My son ... ask for thyself another internet connection, for that which I leave is too slow for thee

  2. #2
    P/T Pagan God thepieman's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    Brooklyn , New York
    wow thats disgusting
    SG Pimp Name : *Treacherous P. Shizzle*
    The fight for our way of life needs to be fought on our own soil, for our own people and because of our own interests.
    Hey, If Me & My Buddies Were Making Billions of Dollars I'd Tell Ya What Ya Wanted To Hear Too!

  3. #3
    I'd go on a rampage.

  4. #4
    Magically Delicious! Meggie's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    my house
    yep, thats my state
    Quote Originally Posted by brembo
    "This is a stick-up...I have an armadillo in my pants"

  5. #5
    ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ ♫♪ downhill's Avatar
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    My Own Private Idaho

  6. #6
    R.I.P. 2016-11-23 Croc's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
    Up top East side Downunder
    When this stuff happens it spreads like a virus.

    You work your ar*e off for most of your productive life and it can be taken away on the whim of a beaurocrat. You have to ask the question about what the Government gains for this dis-service to the community.

    Another read on the history and changes to the law.
    one paragraph on when it started to change.

    Until the middle of this century, courts and governments abided by these constitutional limits. Thus, governments could not take property in order to transfer it from one private owner to another. Government was limited to taking only that property necessary for the public use. Activities that constituted "public uses" were narrowly limited to public works, public utilities, and a handful of others.(2) Gradually, though, government has come to ignore each of these limits, and courts have ratified a sweeping use of eminent domain. Now, local governments will take property and give it to a private person for their economic profit. Anything that a government might be allowed to do at all-storage, planting flowers-it can condemn property in order to do. And it does not need to show that it actually needs the property in question.
    The more you research this, the more you find and the more it sucks.
    ..... more than 10,000 cases of this type of aquisition. .
    It happens here as well but nowhere to the extreme it is in the US.
    Last edited by Croc; 08-19-05 at 07:51 PM.
    It will be long, it will be hard and there will be no withdrawal.
    Winston Churchill
    Remember: Wherever you go in life, you take yourself with you.

  7. #7
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Nov 2000
    Welcome to Connecticut, Gimmie your ****ing wallet!

  8. #8
    It happened here in New Rochelle. Ikea was going to move into a residential area located near an exit off of I95. People had to move. Some willingly and some fought.

    Well, the Ikea plan failed. They are not coming afterall.

  9. #9
    Magically Delicious! Meggie's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    my house
    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie
    It happened here in New Rochelle. Ikea was going to move into a residential area located near an exit off of I95. People had to move. Some willingly and some fought.

    Well, the Ikea plan failed. They are not coming afterall.
    ikea kicks butt, i would move out if they gave me a gift certificate.
    Quote Originally Posted by brembo
    "This is a stick-up...I have an armadillo in my pants"

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