Lowball Watch — California

Word reaches us that a verdict has come down in an eminent domain case in which the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority took a 3777 sq. ft. building (including a billboard) from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The county’s “final” offer was $1,500,000, but after the court decided a motion in limine in the owner’s favor, the offer went up to $2,250,000.

The verdict was $3,357,323 (on the owner’s appraisal opinion of $3,805,000, and the condemnor’s appraiser’s trial opinion of $1,004,000. Which makes the verdict 3.34 times the condemnor’s trial appraisal.

So it appears that the condemnor proffered three different opinions of value for the same building, one of which was less than what it was before the trial court ruled on that motion in limine, whch sounds to us like some sort of effort on the condemnor’s part to grant itself a do-it-yourself motion in limine. And we are supposed to trust these guys?

The owners intend to request the court to award them their attorneys’ fees. Stay tuned.

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