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Eminent Domain - New York

New information added on May 18, 2014

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Updates and News Briefs

"New York Appellate Court Approves Eminent Domain to Save Farmland"
- News Brief, PRFA, January 2008

"The Federal Government is Establishing Power Line Corridors in New York"
-News Brief, PRFA, October 2007

"The Eminent Domain Ombudsman Act is Reintroduced in the Assembly"
- News Brief, PRFA, January 2007

"New York State to Use Eminent domain to Take Private Property for Seneca Indian Casino"
- PRFA News Brief, February 2006
Private homes, hotels, and a newly reopened water park are to be destroyed to become part of a casino under Gov. Pataki's deal with the Seneca Indians.

"Empire State Development Corporation Condemns Church to Transfer Property to
Seneca Indians"

- PRFA News Brief, February 2006
A non-denominational religious ministry has filed suit to stop their two-story house in Niagara Falls from being condemned by the Empire State Development Corp. for the Seneca Gaming Corp.

Senator John A. DeFrancisco Proposes Limits to Eminent Domain - Letter to Carol W. LaGrasse, November 30, 2005
Senator DeFrancisco has introduced S. 5938, a bill with three main components to reform the state's eminent domain laws. First, it limits the use of eminent domain to true public projects, such as the construction of highways, schools, or parks.

"Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky Introduces Eminent Domain Bill" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from NY Property Rights Clearinghouse, Summer 2005)
Responding to the groundswell of outrage at the U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision, NY State Assemblyman Brodsky has proposed the "2005 Eminent Domain Reform Act" to build on his earlier eminent domain reforms. Local government will have to jump through more hoops, property owners will get more time to appeal, homeowners' compensation will be improved, tenants will be compensated, and a commission will explore further protections.

"Eminent Domain Reform passes Legislature Unanimously Again"
- Summer 2004 (PRFA)
For the second year in a row, Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky and Sen. Vincent Leibell have shepherded a bill through the New York State Legislature requiring notification of property owners before condemnation takes place.

The Downtown Brooklyn Plan - Testimony by State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery before City Planning Commission, March 24, 2004
The Arena Complex, Atlantic Terminal Complex, and BAM LDC Complex are part of the Downtown redevelopment plan, and could radically change the borough of Brooklyn. Blank walls of high rise buildings would create hostile streets. Eminent domain might be used for private developments. Funding could instead preserve history and rehabilitate Downtown, rather than tearing it down.

"Eminent Domain Threatens Haverstraw Owner for Supermarket and New Rochelle Owner for Tower Development" - PRFA, Winter 2004
In Haverstraw, the use of eminent domain was contemplated after the non-profit Housing Opportunities for Growth, Advancement and Revitalization was unsuccessful in buying the property.

"Governor Pataki Vetoes Eminent Domain Reform"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from the NY Property Rights Clearinghouse, PRFA, Fall 2003)
Both houses of the Legislature had unanimously passed a bill to require written notice to property owners before the condemnation of their property. Gov. Pataki vetoed the bill on Sept. 22, saying that it would cost too much, but nearly every other state has this notice.

"The New York Times gets Power of Condemnation, Indirectly" (PRFA, January 2002)

March 2001 - "Lawsuits Attack Property Seizures—Institute Campaigns Against Condemnations to Transfer Property to Private Owners" - Carol W. LaGrasse (March 2001)
Lawsuits filed against New Rochelle, N.Y,; Port Chester, N.Y.; North Hempstead, N.Y.; The Empire State Development Corporation; Pittsburgh, Penna.; New London, Conn.; and Atlantic City, N.J. to stop the use of eminent domain to take property from the little guy and transfer it to preferred private owners.

N.Y. State Senate Bill S.7192 Reform of Eminent Domain Notification

 See Also
See Also

Eminent Domain - National

Additional Helpful Organizations
Additional Helpful
Organizations

Prospect Heights Action Coalition
Local homeowners, tenants, and storekeepers organized to fight a new private basketball stadium and
mammoth highrise redevelopment proposed for central Brooklyn, where 1000 people in an established area of neighborhood-scale brownstones, restaurants and shops will be displaced by eminent domain for a private developer.
www.nostadium.homestead.com

Petition: No Stadium - Prospect Heights Action Coalition to Brooklyn Boro President Markowitz, NYC
Mayor Bloomberg, NYS Gov. Pataki.
www.PetitionOnline.com/phac/petition.html

Institute for Justice
(a non-profit legal foundation that defends freedom, is representing property owners in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other areas where cities are using eminent domain to take property from small businesses and homeowners to transfer it to their private businesses, such as hotels and upscale stores.)
address

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

Counteract the Kelo v. New London decision
"Model Resolution
by local Government to Enact a Town Policy and to Petition the State Legislature to Protect Private Property Owners, Including Homeowners and Small Businesses, from Eminent Domain for Economic Development" - PRFA July 2005

  

Institute for Justice

Castle Coalition

"Stop Millwood Firehouse"
Property owner Leo Rotta has launched a web site to help defeat the fire district's plan to seize his property in Millwood, N.Y., by eminent domain to a new $15 million firehouse. "The rent from this property provides my income," said Mr. Rotta. "If I lose, all my property will be lost to taxes and legal fees. I'll get nothing."
Web site
Telephone: Leo Rotta: (914) 337-2725, (914) 941-0491

Port Chester
Downtown property owners fight eminent domain for private redevelopment and corruption of permit process. www.cvs4pcny.com
Federal lawsuit
www.ourlawsuit.com

deep qt — EDA's Follies: Part One
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff investigates eminent domain abuse, starting with Park South, Albany, N.Y.

 

In-Depth Information

  • "Legal Pretexts: Urban Business Owners' Rights Violated" Speech to the Seventeenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, sponsored by the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., October 26, 2013, by Robert LoScalzo, Irene Prestigiacomo and Joe Ardizzone of Willets Point United.
    The Willets Point United leaders returned to tell about the expanded battle, now to immediately build a giant mall on a parking lot located on City park land on the far side of the Mets Stadium and turn their essential concentration of small auto repair and parts businesses into a parking field instead of Mayor Bloomberg's much touted plan to build high-end housing and a mix of shopping with affordable housing. The City has moved plans for housing into the distant future.
Left to Right: Robert LoScalzo, Robert Prentiss (presenting awards), Joseph Ardizzone, and Irene Prestigiacomo
Robert LoScalzo   Joseph Ardizzone

Robert LoScalzo
 

Joseph Ardizzone
The story of the battle of the property owners and tenants in Willets Point, Queens County, New York City, against the City of New York's plan to replace the entire concentration of prosperous industrial businesses near the new City Field Mets Stadium with upscale redevelopment, with an update on the City's withdrawal of its eminent domain papers a few days before the appeal was to be heard, the City's subsequent announcements and changes to its plan, and the corruption involved with the original approval of the plan by the City Council.
  • "New York City Withdraws Its Willets Point Eminent Domain Papers from Court" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, June 2012
    On Wednesday May 2, the City of New York withdrew its papers from the Brooklyn Appellate Court where the appeal by the Willets Point property owners was to be heard on the very next Monday. The city had made serious legal errors that were challenged in the appeal, but, rather than acknowledging this as the reason for withdrawing, Mayor Bloomberg's office put a spin on the news that there are bigger plans in store. In a confusing series of articles, the weeklies gave fair treatment to the Willets Point community, but The Wall Street Journal and Newsday were biased against the property owners, and the Mayor's statements were disdainful and distortive.
  • Irene Prestigiacomo"The City of New York's Harassment of Willets Point's Landowners and Tenants" - by Irene Prestigiacomo Address by Irene Prestigiacomo, Fifteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, Latham, N.Y., October 29, 2011 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    On December 8, 2010, the City of New York embarked on a massive campaign of police harassment of the Willets Point businesses, barricading the community so that no one could leave or enter, and then making mass arrests and confiscating personal and business papers and licenses, and towing away cars without specific charges or search warrants. This was only the beginning. Mrs. Prestigiacomo describes the scheme: "They are so angry at Willets Point United for effectively stopping their Master Plan to take all our property…that they are using the New York City Police as their private Goon Squad."
  • "Willets Point, New York City: Another Community Being Sucked into the Vortex of Urban Redevelopment" -
    A Photo Essay, all photos by Peter J. LaGrasse, captions by Carol W. LaGrasse - Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Summer 2011 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.)
    Undefined urban redevelopment near the new Citi Field stadium is the latest rationale for New York City's eminent domain action to wipe out Willets Point, a thriving industrial community of over 200 businesses employing over 1,500 people.
  • Susan Allen"The Politics of Dispossession" - by Susan Allen,
    A book review of Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York by Samuel Zipp (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010)
    Samuel Zipp analyzes the tragic displacement of our 12,000 ethnic Europeans from their well-kept neighborhoods along with the industry where they worked in the Gas House District of lower Manhattan to build the Stuyvesant Towers apartment complex envisioned by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. All the interconnectedness of people and businesses of working class neighbors was replaced by giant impersonal structures, unaffordable to the former tenants.
  • "Eminent Domain & Land Regulation Should Be Reined In" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., December 2010
    Full report on Fourteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, Lake George, New York, October 23, 2010. The report features Willets Point United, representing a section of Queens where the future of 250 businesses employing thousands of people is jeopardized by New York City's plan to condemn the entire section at the foot of Flushing Bay to develop hotels and conference center, and the Five Year Update on Kelo by Michael Cristofaro, whose family were co-plaintiffs, the only holdouts in New London with Susette Kelo.
  • Eminent Domain Based on Blight Photo Gallery"The Battle Over Eminent Domain Based on 'Blight'" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, June 30, 2010
    An unforgettable hearing at the State Court of Appeals on June 1 over the use of eminent domain to take small businesses for the expansion of Columbia University, a callous decision on June 25 accepting the evidence of "blight" from the Empire State Development Corporation, and some history of the expansion of the definition of "blight" to validate a public purpose tell a tale of the abysmal state of private property rights in New York.
  • "A Slew of Property Rights Bills Submitted to State Legislature" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2006)
    Bi-partisan bills in the New York State Legislature tackle eminent domain reform, local permit applicant uncertainty, and uniformity of Adirondack regulations with statewide rules, as well as economic impact of Adirondack Park Agency and DEC planning.
  • "Assemblyman Richard Brodsky Introduces Eminent Domain Ombudsman Bill"- By Carol W. LaGrasse) PRFA, February 2006)
    Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D, Westchester), chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, has introduced a bill to establish an Eminent Domain Ombudsman to which property owners faced with eminent domain could go for advice and assistance. The ombudsman is modeled after the Utah State Property Rights Ombudsman.
  • "Bill Introduced by Sen. DeFrancisco Would Limit Eminent Domain" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, February 2006)
    An eminent domain reform bill introduced by Senator John A. DeFrancisco, Chair of the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee, would limit the use of eminent domain to true public projects such as highways, schools, and parks; require that eminent domain by authorities be approved by an elected body, and pay relocation costs.
  • "Organize Your Thoughts" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America® Position Brief, May 2008)
    When people are beset with difficulties, they often refuse to set down exactly what is happening to them so that they can logically convey the situation to a potential source of help. The defense of private property rights has a much greater chance when people apply themselves to understanding and conveying their situation. Six rules for clear communication are illustrated in this discussion of local siting of a wind farm and electric transmission system.
  • Raymond Keating"Small Business and Private Property Rights" - By Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, Washington, D.C. and Columnist, Newsday, Long Island, New York; Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Local zoning often is a tool of special interests to force small businesses to give up. Government uses its power of eminent domain for economic development for well-financed entities at the expense of small business. During the past 100 years, government has lost respect for private property owners when developing sports stadiums, which used to fit around private property. In addition, it should be more recognized that intellectual private property rights protect the interests of small businesses, not just "big pharma."
  • "New York Property Rights Directions"-Speech by Carol W. LaGrasse, Cato Institute Conference-"Property Rights on the March: Where from Here," December 1, 2006, Washington, D.C.
    An overview of where property rights stand in New York, what the directions are, and where the work for our cause has been effective: focusing on the battle to keep land in private hands, holding off extreme land-use regulation, the issue of conservation easements, regional preservationist land-use battles, ubiquitous zoning conflicts; and eminent domain.
  • "A History of Government Theft" - By Sarah Foster, April 2006, Reprinted from Whistleblower by permission of WorldNetDaily.com, publisher.
    The U.S. Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London ruling was not the beginning of the abuse of eminent domain to destroy communities for private development. It began in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s, where slum clearance was the excuse for cruelly displacing 20,000 residents, mainly families from good homes, others people in scattered poor conditions, who suffered especially, and even died, from the evictions.
  • Jim Malatras"New York State Legislative Reform" - By Jim Malatras, Legislative Director, Office of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, New York State Assembly; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
    Jim Malatras discusses key problems with New York's eminent domain process, the role of public authorities in eminent domain, and compares the approach of Assemblyman Brodsky with others in the context of the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court Decision.
  • Gideon Kanner"Eminent Domain-Where We Are, Where We've Been, & Where We Should Be Going"- By Gideon Kanner, Professor of Law Emeritus, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    Eminent domain is the dark corner of the law. There is no "public use" requirement increasingly in eminent domain, and the "just compensation" is concededly unjust. The legal development of private eminent domain took several key turns in American jurisprudence, but the big problem surfaced in the Berman case in 1954 in Washington, D.C. Eminent domain for redevelopment in New York involves favored, wasteful, big money deals.
  • James Morgan"The Eminent Domain Crisis" - By James E. Morgan, Esq., Principal, Galvin & Morgan, Counselors at Law, Delmar, N.Y., Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    Eminent domain is being abused by circumventing New York's Enabling Act. The Fifth Amendment right to compensation for a taking of private property is being denied with the government's imposition of transferable development rights for valuable property in the Long Island Pine Barrens, and with the use of zoning and smart growth regulation.
  • "Eminent Domain — Testimony before New York State Judiciary Committee" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Albany, New York, April 3, 2006
    The security of the property owner will only be restored if the intended use of the property subject to eminent domain is restricted to true public uses, not be defining the quality of the neighborhood that can be condemned. In addition, to level the playing field, enactment of law to create an office of eminent domain ombudsman is paramount.
  • "Write for Property Rights — Act Now, After Kelo, A Time of Outrage and Opportunity" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, January 2006)
    The State Senate hearing at the Capitol left the impression that delaying action on eminent domain could be used to diffuse the outrage over the Kelo v. New London ruling. A revised definition of blight might lull citizens into false security. But Senator DeFrancisco has a bill to restore constitutional limits to eminent domain and he and Assemblyman Brodsky have proposed that condemnation by authorities be approved by elected bodies.
  • "The Exercise of Eminent Domain in New York State" -
    By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, PRFA, Testimony before Assembly Committees on Judiciary; Corporations, Authorities and Commissions; Local Government; and Governmental Operations (Legislative Office Building, Albany, N.Y., November 1, 2005
    Justice demands fundamental reform to New York's eminent domain law to prohibit the use of eminent domain to take property to transfer it to another private owner. In addition, New York's eminent domain law should be reformed to stop the use of eminent domain by unelected quasi-governmental authorities. To level the playing field, an eminent domain ombudsman should be established.
  • "New York State Legislative Reform" - By Jim Malatras, Legislative Director, Office of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, New York State Assembly; Speech to the Ninth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 22, 2005)
    Jim Malatras discusses key problems with New York's eminent domain process, the role of public authorities in eminent domain, and compares the approach of Assemblyman Brodsky with others in the context of the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court Decision.
  • "Eminent Domain Reform Needed After Kelo v. New London" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, PRFA. Testimony before the New York State Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, Senate Committee on Local Government, Legislative Office Building, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2005
  • "Rise Up - A Call to Regain Private Property Rights After Kelo v. New London" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, (PRFA, July 2005)
    Each of us should take on the task of counteracting the U.S. Supreme Court's Susette Kelo v. City of New London decision. We must use our influence on local government and the state legislature to prohibit eminent domain to take property from one private owner to transfer it to another private person for the purpose of economic development.
  • "New York State Eminent Domain Reform Enacted" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Fall 2004
    Unanimously passed bi-partisan law shepherded by Democratic Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky requires individual notice to property owners facing condemnation. Signed by Gov. Pataki Sept. 14, 2004.
  • "Eminent Domain Law" - Office of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky. Presented by Jim Malatras, Legislative Director, Eighth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Oct. 23, 2004)
    People across the ideological spectrum have joined Mr. Brodsky to successfully reform New York's eminent domain law, requiring notification of individual property owners. More reform lies ahead.
  • "Challenges to Our Vision" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Welcome Address, Eighth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Oct. 23, 2004)
    With our conviction for private property rights, we can counteract the do-gooders who are using environmental schemes to force rural people off their land and using eminent domain to destroy downtown urban neighborhoods.
  • Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove"Root Shock—How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It" - By Dr. Mindy Fullilove, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Public Health at Columbia University, New York, New York; Speech to the Eighth Annual Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y. October 23, 2004)
    People love the buildings they live in and their neighborhoods. When urban renewal destroyed 1,600 African American neighborhoods in the fifties and sixties, the losses were horrific. The black people called it "Negro removal." Vibrant neighborhoods were lost. Nine out of ten jazz clubs died.
  • Susan Allen"Dispossessed" - By Susan Allen (PRFA, Sept. 2004)
    Book Reviews: Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It by Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove and Mists of the Couchsacrage: Rescue from State Land by Alden L. Dumas
    Dr. Mindy Fullilove's Root Shock captures the mid-20th-century horror of loss of home in her documentation of urban renewal. The story Mists of the Couchsacrage by Alden L. Dumas is haunted by the banished hunting camps destroyed by New York State's insatiable lust for wilderness, which it creates by eliminating the rural culture.
  • The Power Broker — Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro. Book Review - by Susan Allen, Editor and Publisher of the Adirondack Park Agency Reporter (PRFA, February 2004)
    Surveying all from above, Robert Moses wielded eminent domain to achieve his grand plans, wiping out New York neighborhoods in his way. He invented the modern "power authority," with its legacy of "public benefit corporations" having the force of government but virtually immune from citizen supervision.
  • "Brooklyn Neighborhood Threatened by Eminent Domain for Private Stadium" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, January 4, 2004)
    City and borough officials back downtown skyscraper project, to begin with Atlantic Yards, centered about new Arena for the Nets basketball team from New Jersey. Grassroots survey exposes eminent domain impact on 1,000 Prospect Heights residents and business people.
  • Dana Berliner"Eminent Domain for Private Gain"- By Dana Berliner, Keynote Address, Seventh Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, October 18, 2003)
    Eminent Domain is being widely abused to benefit private parties. New York is the worst state in the country for abusing the power of eminent domain. Where the courts are hostile, creative citizen activists defeat eminent domain.
  • "Governor Pataki Vetoes Eminent Domain Reform"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, PRFA, Fall 2003)
    Both houses of the Legislature had unanimously passed a bill to require written notice to property owners before the condemnation of their property. As it is now, when property owners receive the condemnation notice, it is too late to protest. Gov. Pataki vetoed the bill on Sept. 22, saying that it would cost too much, but nearly every other state has this notice.
  • James E. Morgan"Eminent Domain - Current Status, Future Directions" - James E. Morgan, Speech, Sixth Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, November 16, 2002)
    Government is misusing eminent domain to transfer property in so-called "blighted" downtown neighborhoods to developers. At the same time, where New York's eminent domain rules would be the fair answer, Long Island Pine Barrens properties are zoned for zero use, but receive no compensation.

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