Property Rights Foundation of America®

Fourteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights

Photo Gallery Number 1

Private Property Rights and Eminent Domain

The beautifully framed view of Lake George from the lobby of the Holiday Inn Resort at Lake George where PRFA's Fourteenth Annual National Conference on Private PropertyRights was held on October 23.

 

People from all walks of life, from New York to Virginia, begin to gather for the Fourteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights on October 23, 2010 at the Holiday Inn Resort at Lake George. The informal atmosphere made it possible for the attendees to cordially enjoy each others and the speakers conversation.

 

Roger Pilon, Ph. D., J. D., makes a fine point to the listeners about the progress of protection for individual private property rights over nearly two millennia. Dr. Pilon, who is Vice President for Legal Studies, B. Kenneth Simon Center Chair in Constitutional Studies, and Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., is relied on as an international authority on constitutional law. He delivered the Keynote Address at the First Annual Property Rights Conference sponsored by the Property Rights Foundation of America as well as the Opening Address at this, the Fourteenth Annual Conference.

 

Carol LaGrasse welcomes Michael Cristofaro to the speaker's podium. Returning five years after he spoke about the injustice of the Supreme Court's decision to allow the City of New London to raze the remaining homes in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, including that of his family, Mr. Cristofaro inspired the people with his heartrending tale of the callousness of city officials and his own determination to carry on the battle, this time for the hearts of men and women to bring justice to others in the future.

 

As he began his speech about "The aftermath of Kelo, Five Years Later,"
Michael Cristofaro smiled. He seemed to glance with pleasure around the conference room, perhaps feeling the warmth of the audience.

 

Irene Prestigiacomo responds to an audience comment after she and
Joseph Ardizzone share the podium as representatives of Willets Point United, an organization fighting to save an entire community of industrial businesses in Queens County from New York City's eminent domain.

As the audience at the Fourteenth Annual Property Rights Conference gasped, Willets Point United members unfurled a scroll that depicts the business cards of 250 businesses that are jeopardized by New York City's proposed redevelopment.

Willets Point United Lauded at Property Rights Conference

 

Willets Point United's display showing businesses threatened by New York City's plan to use eminent domain to eradicate their industrial community in Queens County. Photos courtesy of Willets Point United, Inc. Left to right:

Top row: House of Spices with their employees gathered outdoors.
Tully Construction and Tully Environmental with their office employees.
Second Row: Fodera Foods (distributors of baking products and products used in food preparation) with their employees on the front lawn.
Feinstein Ironworks (sold to the city and intends to relocate to College Point Corporate Park)
Third Row: Pasiana Rodriguez, outside her automobile repair business.
Vijay, owner of E T Tire Shop, whose lease is threatened by the city's eviction and failure to communicate.
Bottom Row: Overview of intersection of Willets Point Boulevard and 127th Street.
Frank Hermida, manager of a salvage company.

 

Joseph Ardizzone is the only resident of Willets Point. The conference goers expressed much appreciation that he had traveled the 200 miles from Willets Point.
"I was born and raised at Willets Point," he said. "I am now 78 years of age. And the government has decided to cast me aside."

 

Irene Prestigiacomo recalled how she was approached by John Bono, a fellow Willets Point property owner to form Willets Point United to oppose the city's attempted land grab after decades of neglect. She said, "Mr. Bono and the twenty property owners decided we're not going to let them do this. We decided to keep fighting…We are fighting."

 

Roger Pilon rose to comment after the powerful presentation by Willets Point United: "What you've got here is a textbook example of what's going on all across the country. All the people who are in [Willets Point] are in there because they saw an opportunity to make a living, to set up a business—A radiator business, a sawdust business, you name it. It's what the Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek called 'spontaneous order'…And the thing is, nobody could have planned that from above as efficiently as the people from below have planned it…Now, what you've got in contrast to that is these elites, as I spoke of earlier, coming in and saying, 'We know better than you folks know.'"

 

Robert LoScalzo, kneeling, points to photos of numerous prospering businesses at Willets Point that are threatened by New York City's attempted eminent domain, while Carol LaGrasse looks on.

 

Conference goers crowd around the Willets Point United photo exhibit and speakers immediately after Irene Prestigiacomo, Joseph Ardizzone, and Robert LoScalzo address the gathering.

First Hand Report at Fourteenth Annual National Conference

All photos: Peter J. LaGrasse.

Photo Gallery Number 2

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