Lowball Watch – Missouri – With a Twist

A dispatch from St. Louis brings the news of what transcends mere lowballing on the part of a condemning agency. This one, folks, is breathtaking chutzpa.

According to Stltoday.com of May 12, 2010, the redevelopment agency offered the owner $523,000.  When he declined that offer, the commissioners awarded $1,260,675. The case then went to trial and in July 2008, the jury awarded $2,871,200. The trial court added prejudgment interest in the amount of $317,427, and ordered that interest on the judgment run at $475 per day. The city appealed, but the reviewing court affirmed the judgment, and the Missouri Supreme Court declined to review that decision. (Heather Ratcliffe, Landowner Claims City Balking at $2.2 Million Judgment, St. Louis Post Dispatch, May 12, 2010)

Now it turns out that the redevelopment agency won’t pay until after the redeveloper — remember him? — reimburses it, which so far, he has not done.

The owner’s lawyers are trying to collect, which means having to go to court again. Which in our book boils down to a direct challenge by the government to the authority and integrity of the courts. First they go to court to take the owners property and have the court fix compensation. Then, when the court does it, they won’t pay.

We can’t wait to see what happens. Stay tuned on that one.