Lowball Watch — Missouri

An interesting decision comes to us from Chesterfield, Missouri. Local station KSDK reports the outcome of a local eminent ddomain case, as follows.

St. Louis County offered $238,000 for 15 acres of the owners’ land  that had been in the family for 100 years (that fact is significant in Missouri, and we will come back to it presently). The owners contended that fair market value was $1,300,000, and that is just what the jury awarded. In addition, the owners were awarded $150,000 in interest, and another $650,000 for what in Missouri is called “heritage value,” defined by local law as a 50% addition to the verdict in cases where the subject property has been owned by the same family for over 50 years — you could call it a sort of solatium payment that has to be made to people whose land has been in the family for a long time.

The bone of contention was the County’s unsuccessful argument that the subject property was in a flood plain, with wetlads and access issues. The jury evidently disagreed or discounted the couty’s argument.

The total award thus comes to almost nine times the county’s offer.

The story is Jeff Small, Chersterfield Family Gets $2 Million for Land Taken by Eminent Domain, KSDK.com, December 30, 2011 – click here http://www.ksdk.com/news/article/293842/3/Chesterfield-family-gets-2-million-for-land-taken-by-eminent-domain