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Eminent Domain - National

New information added on November 25, 2019

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"How's that eminent domain/redevelopment thing working out for ya?"
Suzette Kelo appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they ruled that as long as the City of New London had a "plan" for redevelopment, her house could be taken. The entire neighborhood is now a dump.
Pacific Legal Foundation, August 31, 2011

"Why the Assault?" - Book Review By Jigs Gardner (PRFA, June 2008)
Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights And How We Can Fight It by Don Corace (Harper Collins, 288 pp., $14.95 paper)

"Landowner Must Be Notified of Blight Designation According to New Jersey Court"
- News Brief, PRFA, Spring 2008

"National Property Rights Ombudsman Bill Announced" — U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, Press Release, Sandy, Utah, July 5, 2005
The "Empower Act" would apply the Utah model of a State Property Rights Ombudsman to the federal government, to inform people of their rights and actively work to help property owners to take full advantage of their rights.

"Case Law Accumulates Implementing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act" - PRFA News Brief, March 2005
Churches and synagogues are bucking zoning and eminent domain by using the new federal law known as RLUIPA to defend their right to build edifices for worship and religious education and to practice their religion in various locations.

"Connecticut's Highest Court Kicks Homeowners Out For Private Development"
- March 2004
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on March 3, 2004 that the New London Development Corp. could take private houses for a privately owned hotel and conference center, marina and upscale housing.

"Conservative and Liberal Senators Jointly Sponsor Bill to Protect Property Owners from Eminent Domain" (PRFA, June 2002)

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

March 2001:
"Lawsuits Attack Property Seizures—Institute Campaigns Against Condemnations to Transfer Property to Private Owners"
Lawsuits 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. against eminent domain to take property from little guys for preferred private owners.

February 2001:
"Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Plans to Condemn Property for a Trail after it Loses Lawsuit Against Owners"

 See Also
See Also

Eminent Domain - New York

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

Uniform Relocation Act
Federal Highway Administration
"The Uniform Act applies when Federal dollars are utilized in any phase of a project. The Uniform Act applies even when Federal dollars are not used specifically for property acquisition or relocation activities, but are used elsewhere in the project, such as in planning, environmental assessments or construction." - "Real Estate Acquisition Guide for Local Public Agencies," Essential guidebook for the property owner available from U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (p. 2). See web site:

"The Freedom of Information Request"
(With Sample Letter) - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA Background Brief, December 2004)
Knowledge is the first key to success in defending private property rights. Although based on New York and federal freedom of information law, this article has important information applicable anywhere in the United States.

Additional Helpful Organizations
Additional Helpful

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.)

Institute for Justice

Castle Coalition

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

Begging for Billionaires
A Documentary about Eminent Domain
A Limelight Cinema Group Production: Philip Klein - Director/Producer;
Robert Vollrath - Assistant Director;
Dan Polsfuss - Editor;
Mark Vollrath - Rough Editor; Music by the Washington Squares


In-Depth Information

  • James S. Burling, Esq."Is the Doctrine of Regulatory Takings Constitutional?" - By James S. Burling, Esq.,Vice President & Principal Attorney. Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, California. Address to the Twenty-second Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights, Latham, N.Y. October 20, 2018 (Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.) 
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."
  • "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.
  • "My Two Bricks" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, January 2010
    Two bricks symbolize the evils of greed and corruption, the horror of the U.S. Supreme Court's endorsement of repression, and the sacrifice and thirst for justice by heroic, ordinary people.
  • "The Human Side of Eminent Domain" - Book Review by Jigs Gardner
    Little Pink House by Jeff Benedict
    Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 13, No. 2 (PRFA, Spring 2009)
    The story of Susette Kelo, the corruption of the City of New London, and the destruction of a neighborhood for municipal and corporate ambitions, to no purpose, as the neighborhood now stands as an empty wasteland, unprotected by the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • "PRFA is Friend of the Court in Appeal of Wymberley Eminent Domain"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, June 21, 2009
    The Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., has joined in filing an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief to the Indiana Supreme Court in support of a petition to transfer for an appeal by landowners where the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Wymberley Sanitary Works, a utility, in its disputed use of its power of eminent domain.
  • Don Corace"Fight the Good Fight for Private Property Rights"
    - By Don Corace, Real Estate Developer and Author, Naples, Florida; Presented at Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
    The assault on private property rights includes eminent domain abuse like that of Susette Kelo for private development, and regulatory takings where the property owner receives zero compensation. Ocie Mills of Florida was the first man to go to federal prison for a wetland violation, singled out by the Corps of Engineers because he spoke out. In Pompano Beach, Florida, two men who had all their permits to build a hotel were stopped with 31 years by their NIMBY neighbors who didn't want their ocean view obstructed. One brother, a millionaire, lost everything, and had a stroke. Join together, put on your gloves, and fight abuses of private property rights.
  • Roman P. Storzer"The Rights of Religious Institutions Facing Zoning and Historic Preservation" - By Roman P. Storzer, Storzer & Greene, P.L.L.C. Washington, D.C.; Twelfth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 18, 2008)
    In no other area is there as much restriction on religious exercise, a First Amendment freedom, than in the land use context, with possibly the exception of prisoners. The federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, RLUIPA, targets landmarking and land use laws. Zoning boards no longer hold all the power. Churches, mosques and temples can go to court and get redress under a relatively strong standard of review.
  • 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."
  • Roger Pilon, Ph. D., J. D."The Supreme Court's Protection of Private Property Rights: The Founders' Dream, the Owner's Nightmare" - By Roger Pilon, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Legal Affairs and Director, Center for Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute, Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Roger Pilon presents an overview of private property rights, beginning with first principles, including a discussion of the history of the founding documents, followed by the police power and eminent domain power; then four scenarios of government restrictionsgovernment actions that reduce the value of private property, regulation to stop nuisance, regulatory takings, and full eminent domain; and finally the four categories of eminent domain: transfer to the public, transfer to a private owner for public utilities and the like, condemnation for blight reduction, and transfer to another private party for economic development. Highlights of court rulings illustrate how the Progressive Era led to today's regulatory state.
  • Marshall Sayegh"Twenty-first Century Carpetbaggers and Privateers: The Booty is Your Property" - By Marshall Sayegh, President, Property Rights Foundation of Mendocino County, Gualala, California, Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Today, privateering is a way of mobilizing groups of people and resources to take private property rights. When faced with an illogical utility route that threatened their businesses, the Gualala Commercial Property Owners defended their private property rights by organizing and speaking out, again and again.
  • "Congressional Legislation Would Thwart Effects of Kelo Decision" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, July 25, 2007
    Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner and Maxine Waters introduced federal legislation in July to rein in the effects of the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision allowing the use of eminent domain to take property from one private party to transfer it to another private party for economic development. The Property Rights Protection Act of 2007 (H.R. 3053) would hold back federal funds for economic development where eminent domain was used. However, the bill contains two exceptions allowing eminent domain for economic development for an immediate threat to public health and safety and to acquire abandoned property that create a dangerous, open-ended exception for "blight," which should be deleted before the bill garners support.
  • 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.
  • Jason Knox"Update on Property Rights in the U.S. Congress"-By Jason Knox, Staffer, Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    Rep. Sensenbrenner's eminent domain reform bill (H.R. 4128) died in the Senate. Rep. Chabot's bill to enable property owners to bring Fifth Amendment takings cases into federal court (H.R.4772) would overcome the requirement that state remedies be exhausted and the ironic application of res judicata. Eminent domain due process reform would eliminate the bulk of federal condemnation abuse.
  • "Private Property Rights—Freedom in the Balance" -Keynote Address by John Fund, The Wall Street Journal, Tenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
    "Often the best template by which to judge a member of Congress is not whether they have an R or D behind their name, not whether they say they are a conservative or say they are a liberal, but what their philosophical impulses are towards Kelo."
  • "A History of Government Theft" - By Sarah Foster, April 2006, Reprinted from Whistleblower by permission of, 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.
  • "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.
  • Craig Call"National Property Rights Ombudsman Legislation" - By Craig M. Call, Utah State Property Rights Ombudsman Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    The Utah Property Rights Ombudsman has successfully acted as a neutral third party to make sure that people have straight answers to the questions that they face in land use and eminent domain situations involving state and local government. "I try to make the law work better for individuals who call me," said Mr. Call. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch has proposed legislation for a federal property rights ombudsman within the Department of Transportation.
  • Steven Anderson"Eminent Domain Reforms at Every Level" - By Steven D. Anderson, Castle Coalition, Institute for Justice, Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    The majority's point in Kelo v. New London that it must defer to a state deliberative body on the meaning of the Constitution borders on lunacy. Its point that state laws requiring some type of plan protect property owners from an overreaching government confirms the Court's detachment from reality.
  • Michael Cristofaro"Local Citizen Organizing to Defeat Eminent Domain" - By Michael Cristofaro, Resident of the condemned Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    The Cristofaro family gave up their first house to eminent domain, supposedly for a levee, but a private development was built there instead. They refused to move when the City's New London Redevelopment Agency condemned their second home, and fought their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where their case, Kelo v. New London, was defeated. Michael Cristofaro speaks about the injustice of eminent domain at every opportunity and is campaigning for the City Council.
  • "U.S. Supreme Court: Administrative State is King - Chilling Kelo v. New London Decision Dashes Trust in Top Court" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, July 2005)
    As long as government has a plan, it may condemn private property to transfer it to another private party. The literal meaning of "public use" in the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment is rejected, replaced with the broader meaning of "public purpose." The ruling strengthens a trend to the sovereign administrative state in several recent Supreme Court Rulings, most recently Gonzales v. Raich and U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • "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.
  • John McClaughryKelo v. City of New London:
    "Private Property At The Mercy Of Government" - By John McClaughry, Ethan Allen Institute, Reprinted by Permission. (This article appeared in most Vermont newspapers shortly after the ruling.)
    According to the June 23, 2005 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Kelo v. New London, government can take the property of A by eminent domain and turn it over to B whenever it thinks that B will pay more in taxes.
  • Nathaniel R. Dickinson"The Rampant Injustice of Eminent Domain" - By Nate Dickinson (PRFA, November 14, 2004)
    Review of Abuse of Power—How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain by Steven Greenhut (Seven Locks Press 2004)
    Master planners are using "blight" declarations and urban redevelopment to sack neighborhoods in a nationwide nightmare of eminent domain. People are fighting back to protect their private property rights.
  • Jim Malatras"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.
  • 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.
  • "Challenges to Our Vision" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Welcome Address, Eighth Annual N.Y. 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.
  • Susan Allen"Dispossessed" - By Susan Allen (PRFA, September 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.
  • 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.
  • "Willing Seller Willing Buyer - Park Service Version" - by Bo W. Thott, 1993. (Unique survey of sellers, reprinted by permission of Bo W. Thott, Washington County Alliance, Cutler, Maine)
    Private landowners ostensibly selling to the National Park Service are not bona fide sellers but are giving up title to escape the legal expenses of a foredoomed battle against condemnation.

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