Truth to Power

The last laugh on Kelo

One of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever ends up a bust:

Eminent domain win is hollow

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Weeds, glass, bricks, pieces of pipe and shingle splinters have replaced the knot of aging homes at the site of the nation’s most notorious eminent domain project.

There are a few signs of life: Feral cats glare at visitors from a miniature jungle of Queen Anne’s lace, thistle and goldenrod. Gulls swoop between the lot’s towering trees and the adjacent sewage treatment plant.

But what of the promised building boom that was supposed to come wrapped and ribboned with up to 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues? They are noticeably missing.

Proponents of the ambitious plan blame the sour economy. Opponents call it a “poetic justice.”

…New London officials decided they needed Kelo’s land and the surrounding 90 acres for a multimillion-dollar private development that included residential, hotel conference, research and development space, and a new state park that would complement a new $350 million Pfizer pharmaceutical research facility.

Kelo and six other homeowners fought for years, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2005, justices voted 5-4 against them, giving cities across the country the right to use eminent domain to take property for private development.

In July, backers halted fundraising for the project’s crown jewel, a proposed $60 million, 60,000-square-foot Coast Guard museum.

The poor economy meant that donations weren’t “keeping pace with expenses,” said Coast Guard Foundation President Anne Brengle. The group hopes to resume fundraising, she said.</em>

So the state takes the legal property of a citizen and gives it to a developer in return for pie in the sky hopes of new jobs and taxes…and now the land sits barren? How about we sue the developers and at least get the promised tax revenue?


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