Skip to comments.U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Eminent Extortion Case for Review
Posted on 12/20/2006 6:59:54 PM PST by JTN
Developer Demanded $800,000 or Village Would Take Property; Property Owners Refused, Village Condemned Land Next Day
Arlington, VaA federal court has now approved an extortion scheme using eminent domain under last years Kelo decision. Unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the rulings, developers may threaten property owners, Your money or your land.
Think this is an overstatement?
Consider what is happening right now in Port Chester, N.Y., to entrepreneur Bart Didden and his business partner, whose case will be considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 5, 2007.
With the blessing of officials from the Village of Port Chester, the Villages chosen developer approached Didden and his partner with an offer they couldnt refuse. Because Didden planned to build a CVS on his propertyland the developer coveted for a Walgreensthe developer demanded $800,000 from Didden to make him go away or ordered Didden to give him an unearned 50 percent stake in the CVS development. If Didden refused, the developer would have the Village of Port Chester condemn the land for his private use. Didden rejected the bold-faced extortion. The very next day the Village of Port Chester condemned Diddens property through eminent domain so it could hand it over to the developer who made the threat.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this extortion under last years Kelo eminent domain decision. The court ruled that because this is taking place in a redevelopment zone they couldnt stop what the Village is doing.
Essentially, the courts have ruled Kelo turns any redevelopment zone into a Constitution-free zone for property owners confronted by politically connected developers, said Dana Berliner, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents Didden and argued on behalf of the Kelo property owners. We want the Supreme Court to rule that the Constitution does not permit governments or citizens acting on their behalf to demand money in exchange for allowing property owners to keep what is rightfully theirs. The very fact that we have to ask the highest court in the land for such a ruling underscores how precarious and threatening things are getting for ordinary American landowners.
My case is about extortion through the abuse of eminent domain; it is about payoffs and government run amok, said Didden. It took me years of hard work to buy that property, pay off my mortgages and really feel like I own it. How dare the Village of Port Chester and this developer threaten me in this way. I want to see integrity restored to the governmental process of exercising eminent domain. There is no integrity here. Unless the Supreme Court takes up my case, I fear for anyone else who owns a piece of property not just in Port Chester, but anywhere a politically connected developer is eyeing it.
For now, the property remains vacant.
Didden expressed universal disappointment with the government officials who are charged with the duty of protecting his rights. What really surprised me about this whole ordeal was the total lack of concern my situation earned from the Village politicians, to the County District Attorneys office, all the way into the federal courts. A private citizen using the governments power is extorting me. And the government that was supposed to protect my rights is nowhere to be found. If anything, it is making this extortion possible. It is an outrage.
Hmmmm. The love of money is the root of all evil. I think that applies here.
If anyone knows of an eminent domain ping list, would you please alert the holder of that list?
We are now well beyond the level of tyranny that drove our forefathers to rebel against the colonial authority. Will the American people wake up, or simply shrug and watch more reality TV?
So now the courts are working for the Tony Sopranos of the world?
This is an outrage. A fair price is whatever someone is willing to pay, not what someone is forced to sell for. It stands to reason that it would come to this because the courts have been so wrong concerning the matter (just as they have been concerning abortion, privacy, and any number of things). Now they have to reconcile their absurd opinions with reality. It will be interesting to see their reaction, then compare it with that of abortion and "privacy", as it were.
The fact there was blatent extortion shocks the conscience. The cold fact is that much of this type of extortion has been going on for years it is just nobody has paid attention.
I wish there would be CRIMINAL investigations for these extortion efforts.
The shocking part is this was PAY US TO GO AWAY!
It was literally protection money in the worst mobster format.
It is a logical progression. From here a logical next step is the government paying nothing for expropriated land because with the government's interest becoming known the land cannot be sold and therefore has no market value and the government pays market value (as determined by the government).
The fact that an Appeals Court doesn't seem to know the definition of extortion is well,troubling.
Kelo, a travesty of the pinciples of our Constitution !!!
The constitution's been dead for some time now. What's the big surprise?
I've sometimes thought in the past that the libertarian rhetoric you sometimes hear about the government basically being the legalized mafia was over the top. Now, not so much. This is friggin' outrageous.
I haven't read the ruling, but apparently the court ruled that Kelo is the relevant case law. The sad thing is, the are probably right.
The very fact that we have to ask the highest court in the land for such a ruling underscores how precarious and threatening things are getting for ordinary American landowners.
Our forefathers won their freedoms by telling the judges where the boundaries were. As long as we are asking, the boundaries will keep getting smaller.
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