Skip to comments.Eminent domain struggle over bike shop
Posted on 06/06/2005 7:22:22 PM PDT by Land_of_Lincoln_John
June 6, 2005 One man's battle to save his bicycle shop may rest with the United States Supreme Court.
The city of Chicago wants to use the power of eminent domain to take the property for a condo development. The bike shop owner calls that an abuse of power.
Eminent domain gives a city the power to take private land -- for a fair price -- so long as the deal benefits the public.
A Connecticut case awaiting an important ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is mirrored by many eminent domain cases across the country including the fight over a Jefferson Park bike shop.
They all ask the question, "when is it proper for a public body to take private land for what will be private use?" Don Zordani is a former bicycle racing champion who has made his living selling bikes. Nearly 35 years ago, he bought an old Jewell store in Jefferson Park and turned it into a shop that has had -- over the years -- a sizable clientele.
The city wants to take the bike shop and surrounding properties and allow a private developer to build a seven story condominium tower.
Zordani sees that as an abuse of the city's power to condemn.
"This is not something for the city or the park district, or a school. it would just be for a private developer to make the lot of profit," said Don Zordani.
"I'd like to see some type of development there to make the community proud rather than the eyesore around those abandoned stores," said 45th Ward Ald. Pat Levar.
The city argues that the bike shop and surrounding properties are "blighted", and that building a condo tower with retail shops here would create jobs, improve the tax base and neighborhood appearance. All that, the city argues, would serve the public interest and therefore satisfy the law.
But Zordani says when this process began in the late 90's, his building had not been declared blighted, and the developer who desires his property now was investing heavily in the neighborhood.
"He built a nine-story office building he put in a blighted area," Zordani said.
"We don't think this property's blighted and if it is, then there's not a piece of property anywhere that isn't at risk of being condemned by the city," said Joe Cainkar, attorney for Zordani.
Don Zordani acknowledges that he would sell for the right price. Everybody, he says, has a number.
The developer who wants to put up the condo, Demetrius Kozonis says Zordani's number is way out of whack -- several million dollars too high -- that they've offered to keep the bike shop in the neighborhood, but that Zordani is stubborn and unreasonable.
The bike shop
And I would like to see something more productive where your house is, you f*icking facist.
I personally think condos are of a much greater value to society than a bike shop ever can be
Plus, it looks as if letters are missing from the building
Bzzzt! I'm sorry, but that's the wrong answer. Your lovely parting gift is this copy of the US Constitution with the 5th amendment highlighted. Private property can be purchased by the government for "public use", not if it merely "benefits the public".
The New London case should settle this type of thing.
I can't imagine the government taking property so a private developer can profit---I don't care how crappy the property is.
What a pig that local so called "representative of the people" is! What he should have said is " I'd love to make some extra property taxes so I can run again and again and keep my job as a whore for any developer that wants to buy me". Now that would be honest.
This is a crucial ruling from the Supremes and they better get this one right. OUr whole country's right of private property rests on this case. I hope the American people WAKE UP!
The sad thing is that I can. The Supreme Court wouldn't recognize the Constitution if they were hit with it. Likewise the Congress and the President.
I couldn't have imagined the McCain-Feingold incumbent protection act passing, being signed or upheld by the courts. Yet all three happened.
Plus, it looks as if letters are missing from the building
Hey, why should he fix it, since Ald. Levar is thretening to snatch the store from the owner and the land under it. Perhaps the bike shop owner is asking too much. Then the developer can find another piece of land to build his condos.
Instead, the developer, Demetrius Kozonis, runs to Ald. Levar, so he can get, at least in my opionion "a fair price" from the bike shop owner. This is absurd, the Alderman is using the power of municipal government to push around a small businessman.
The bike shop owner has something the developer wants. If Kozonis wants it badly enough, pay for it, don't drag the city into it.
You'd be surprised
I'm in the real estate industry (not selling tract houses either) so, you have to deal with these issues all the time
There is alot of property that is currently rundown, but which has potential.
The sign says "Sportif Importer Ltd". The S could use a little paint, but arguing that this makes the building blighted would be like saying that your house number looks a little scruffy, so your house should be confiscated, torn down and turned over to a sports team to build a new stadium with your tax money.
If you need to "raise more tax revenue", then you have too da#n much government!
Look, I happen to be in the real estate/development industry, and the truth is, some of these people never budge.
I was involved in a now defunct project, we wanted to acquire some worthless swampland, because we had this vision of transforming it into a major condo complex. I personally was gonna net 1.3 mil off the project, but we were negotiating with the guy. His property all together, worth no more than 90 grand. But we got all the way up to 750 grand, that was the final offer, and he still kept stonewalling, giving us some stuff about how this had been his dream.
In the end, we withdrew our offer and canceled the project.
The point I'm trying to make here is, there's no reasoning with some people, we were willing to give this guy 8 times the market value, and he still wouldn't budge because of his property's sentimental value
People are not always reasonable in these kinds of matters.
If he has a sentimental value and the property is worth it to him, let him keep it. its his, he paid for, and if he doesnt want to give it up, he doesnt have to
You are missing the point completely. The only reason you are making ANY money in real estate is because in this country we have PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS ! It is the constitution that has given you the right to buy and sell property! Eminnant Domain is the basis of that. The only ...ONLY...way our constitution allows for the Government to TAKE LAND BY THREAT OF GUNS (ie the Government) is for the public good...not YOUR good.
And I'm personally amazed you're still around.
A comment like this isn't even worthy of a response.
Thank you for reminding everyone of this.
I can remember when public domain was something elected officials would never use, because it was a sure fire way to get unelected by people who value their property rights. I have attended many public meetings in the past where eminent domain was discussed for purposes of expanding the highways in the Central Valley of CA. No one EVER felt good about taking away someone elses property even though there was a clear public need for transportation improvements.
To stay clear of eminent domain debates, public officials now create redevelopemnt zones. They unConstitutionally give authority to the redevelopment council to apply eminent domain and they use "blight" as the reason for doing this. The American people have allowed a Pandoras box to open in the realm of property rights by not requiring elected officials to follow the Constitution, and our society is poorer for it.
But nowadays, the idea of private property and valuing the property rights of others seems to lost. Why aren't children in schools taught to value private property and individual rights? How is it that the idea there is such a thing as group rights with respect to private property come into being?
I bought a bike there years ago. The place is definitely not "blighted". This is a land grab pure and simple.
Sounds like both parties were reasonable in your case. When you didn't offer him a fair price, he declined, and you moved on.
The problem in Chicago and elsewhere is that oftentimes they resort to calling out the governement to remove the owner at the point of a gun.
Happens all the time. That's what the New London case is about. I'm not very hopeful, as this court routinely sides with powerful interests over those of average citizens. Grand Ayatollah O'Connor will probably consult a Zimbabwean law to determine that the constitution says government seizure of private property for the benefit of politicians' cronies or campaign contributors is in the public interest, and therefore de facto "public use."
Antonio Gramsci's "third way" vision of the global socialist revolution is taking place before our eyes. We're well on our way to a socialistic oligarchy/kleptocracy. Once HRH St. Hildebeast is seated upon the throne, elections like the one in Washington state will become the norm - serving as a fig leaf of legitimacy to maintain the ruling elite's absolute power. Welcome to the brave new world, comrade peons and lackeys!
Whether or not the owner is unreasonable is totally irrelevant. It's still his property to do with as he pleases.
Well, private property is the bedrock of the American legal system, but once again, during the 30's, the New Deal inaugurated the process of federal land grabs, and they haven't stopped since.
THANK YOU!!! YOU HAVE NAILED IT!!!
We have strayed so far from the original intent of the Founding Fathers, that if Washington were alive today, he'd be marching on Washington.
Yes, you may quote me.
I like your Zimbabwe reference---very apropos in this situation.
God,what a country "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" is becoming.
I'm embarrassed at your ignorance.
some of these people never budge.
Then those people are idiots.
Besides, were talking about Chicago here, and abuse by Alderman of zoning laws to bully property owners into bending to their will is legendary and well documented.
The Jefferson Park area of Chicago is a strong middle class community, it does not have to be "saved" by these condos. Do I know all the facts? No. I just posted the article, I don't even know the address of the place, but it's near I work, and I bet it's a nice street. Which is why the developer, I bet, Kozonis, wants it.
But I do know the way the City of Chicago operates. A favorite ploy for years among the Chicago City Council has been this: Alderman would convince their fellow Aldercreatures to downzone an area from commercial to residential. Now, that area that's been downzoned may be as residential as Wall Street, but they'll zone it residential all the same.
Once it's residential, prospective developers, retailers, restaranteurs and the like, according the City of Chicago custom, have to crawl to the local alderman, and ask for a zoning variance to get their business set up in this "residential area." For "a price," whether a politicial donation or an outright bribe, that alderman will grant the waiver.
That's the way it's usually done in Chicago.
So naturally, I'm very suspicious of Alderman Levar's motives of doing this for "the public good." I'm with the bike shop owner.
Now we have guys like Levar bullying a longtime businessowner with emininent so Kozonis can build his condos.
And when they come for your house using this particular case as precedent, you'll be singing the same tune, right?
I never said I agreed with what Chicago is doing
I was just expressing my personal opinion that condo's provide more to society than bike shops do.
I personally distaste eminent domain, and thats why I always try and win over potential sellers with sugar. If it doesn't work, I drop the deal. I can afford to pass up the occassional deal.
But in general, condiminiums, or anything that is high density, is going to have a larger net positive economic impact than something that is smaller, or lower volume, that's bedrock economics.
But this guy has nothing to worry about, because no court is going to hold this up, never has a court I know of held up anything along the lines of "using eminent domain to give land to a developer is in the public interest"
The guy has nothing to worry about.
A comment like this isn't even worthy of a response.
This dingbat has been farting up the forum for the past few days. I was hoping he'd learn something here by now....
I'm fully aware of what Chicago is, I think the whole country is.
The guy just needs to take this issue to court, because neither the developer or the city have a legal leg to stand on.
In the end money has zero value until applied in a trade of sentiment. When you said "8 times the market value" you were just expressing the sentiment of the recent buyers of similar properties in that locale. That's usually not such a big set of people.
When you say: "there's no reasoning with some people", that's a phrase that begs some explanation. I've heard on ocassion used to justify the unreasonable, since the "reasonable doesn't work with that guy".
How much is your wife worth to you? Or your daughter? In Tunsia, for example, a daughter with firm breasts can be worth a couple of goats. A reasonable price. Set by the market.
750 Grand? And you couldn't afford a county commissioner or three for that much?
I'm not in real estate, thank God.
But let me repeat, the bike shop owner has something that Kozonis, the developer wants to buy. Kozonis wants it a lot. The bike shop guy may be stubborn, nuts, or a good haggler. If Kozonis can't come up with a price that the bike shop owner agrees too, Kozonis moves on, and the bike shop owner loses out on a great deal.
It's that simple. If you don't get it, then DU might be a better place for you to post, as government assisted land grabs are not going to be applauded here.
The point I'm trying to make here is, there's no reasoning with some people, we were willing to give this guy 8 times the market value, and he still wouldn't budge because of his property's sentimental value.
People are not always reasonable in these kinds of matters.
That's the whole point of owning property. You don't have to be 'reasonable' and settle for someone else's estimate of 'market value'. When I studied economics, the market price was determined by the intersection of a supply curve and a demand curve, which in turn reflect the preferences of the people doing the buying and the selling. Just because there is a 'market price' for a particular good doesn't mean that all sellers will want to sell for that price or even eight times that price. If the buyer gets to decide what the 'market price' should be, then it's not really a free market.
Anyone who bribes a public official should be thrown in jail alongside that public official.
I never said I was applauding it.
Where did I ever say, the City of Chicago should take his land.
A couple of years ago, I had to fight some hick county in central Alabama because they wanted to run a road thru my hunting camp, and claim eminent domain.
I'm just expressing my wonder why the developer is not offering to make the guy a reasonable settlement. It's not as if Chicago is a soft real estate market right now, and any money he'd lose, he'd more than make back on his project.
Eminent domain = Grand larceny under the guise of the government (most of the time)
The "market value" is the figure you have to offer to make a successful purchase. You failed to do this
>> A comment like this isn't even worthy of a response.
I Agree... Oops. Uh, Admin mod where's the un-post button?
A lot of FReepers live in "hick counties."
Ya, ya. I was trying hard not to be mean. ;-)
I doubt they live in this county.
And anyone who doubts my conservative credentials, all you need to do is ask me what I think should be done with the border. Let's just say, me and Pat Buchanan are ideological kin on this issue.
And the one sale has to be met with a true market value...not what some goofy local appraiser rates it at for tax purposes!
The west is going to be the big battleground over this. Not so much California, because to be quite honest, I think California has reached equilibrium. In the next 20 years, California is going to start suffering what New York, Illinois, etc have long dealt with.
It's become too expensive to do business in Cali.
I think two states where alot of these issues are going to come to the forefront. Idaho and Nevada.
With Nevada, the fact is, the boom has to go bust at some point. You can't run a city of 3 million people (I've heard some estimate thats what the metro will be by 2010) on gambling alone. Especially when you're talking about a city that would not exist without modern technology.
Idaho is different because of well, the explosion Boise has seen in the last few decades. I was surprised to find out the Boise area now has half a million people, and it is still growing exponentially. I think in the next 10-15 years, Boise will start encroaching on well, land that hasn't seen the light of civilization ever, and I think some big issues will occur there.
I'd same the same for Colorado.