Lowball Watch – New Jersey

This just in from the New Jersey Appellate Division. Asbury Park v. Alvino, Docket No. A-6457-08T2. Opinion filed June 1, 2010.

City’s offer: $250,000. Award by commissioners: $322,000. Jury verdict: $1,544,000 which is some six times the offer and is exactly the amount testified to by the owner’s appraiser.

Evidently, the city’s appraisal was so bad that the owner’s lawyer — though he explicitly did not challenge the right to take — stated in his argument to the jury that the city’s valuation method was “eminent domain abuse on its face.” The city tried to make something of that on appeal but the appellate court wasn’t buying.