Monthly Archives: April 2019

Lowball Watch — Kansas

Scripps Media reports on line that In Overland Park, Kansas, a local condemor offered the owners $9000 for a small taking to improve a road. When the owner rejected the offer, appraisers awarded $19,000. The bone of contention was a large sycamore tree on the taken land for which the condemnor offered nothing.

See Sarah Plake, Homeowner Wins Lawsuit, Doubles Award in Overland Park, Scripps Media, Apr. 24, 2019, https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/homeowner-wins-lawsuit-doubles-award-in-overland-park-eminent-domain-case

Remember Kelo?

In 2005 — that’s some 14 years ago — the US Supreme Court held 5 to 4 that the city of New London, Connecticut, could use eminent domain to take Suzette Kelo’s home, and her entire unblighted neighborhood in order to raze it and turn it over to a private developer, to be replaced with privately-built, profit-making upscale condos, shops and a marina — not for anything that a reasonably intelligent, English-speaking person, would describe as a “public use” required by the Constitution. No, it was to benefit highly paid hi-tech employees of the nearby Pfizer pharmaceutical company, and by a trickle-down process to increase local taxes. The court’s majority bought into this nonsense by accepting the city’s phony assurances that its plan was sound and thoroughly vetted. But it wasn’t. It turned out not to be worth the paper it was written on.

After blowing some $100 million in public funds, nothing was built on the taken site. Nothing, as in bobkes, zip, nada. Pfizer, for whose benefit this was done waited until its tax benefit were used up, and then sold its nearby facility, and moved out of town, taking some 1400 jobs with it. You can find the pictures of the vacant site where the home of Kelo and her neighbors once stood, in the Volokh Conspiracy blog. Check it out.