Welcome Volokh Conspirators! Other posts you might find interesting for today include the ones on the WaPo-NY Times headline conspiracy, the Delta-NWA bankruptcies, and the “evil” industry that dominates The Working Mother Best 100 List. And if you need some “up” stories, go here.
The issuance of Kelo eviction notices is a double-cross, with the language twists normally used only by authoritarian governments:
NEW LONDON — Despite promises to abide by a moratorium on eminent domain takings, the city agency in charge of development has sent notices to residents in Fort Trumbull ordering them to leave by the beginning of December.
On Monday two residents received certified letters from the New London Development Corp. requiring them to leave in 90 days and to pay rent to the NLDC in the meantime.
The Fort Trumbull properties were at the center of an eminent domain case that reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that the city is allowed to seize the properties to make way for slated economic development.
“One of my tenants just had a baby,” Richard Beyer, who owns a property at 49 Goshen St. that received one of the eviction notices, said today. “It’s just mind-boggling.”
These are not the first such notices residents in the area have received since the city began planning to take the land by eminent domain but they are the first since the Supreme Court decision this year, Beyer said.
“I think it’s a misunderstanding,” David M. Goebel, chief operating officer for the NLDC, said today.
Goebel said the notices were not eviction notices and that in issuing them the NLDC simply was obeying the law.
In July, according to the Associated Press, the NLDC agreed to abide by a suggestion made by Gov. M. Jodi Rell that eminent domain actions should halt while the General Assembly reviews relevant state law.
“It’s not only a slap in the face to the governor and the legislature, but it’s a case of the NLDC breaking their word,” Scott Bullock, a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, said today.
The Institute for Justice represented the property owners’ case before the Supreme Court.
Goebel, though, said the NLDC’s understanding is that the moratorium applies only to new eminent domain proceedings.
The proceeding in Fort Trumbull dates back to Nov. 14, 2000, Goebel said.
“We have to do what’s best for the taxpayers,” he said.
Susette Kelo, the lead plaintiff in the case that reached the Supreme Court, said today she believes the moratorium was meant to apply to all eminent domain seizures.
“That’s Mr. Goebel’s interpretation of what the governor said, but I think it’s blatant disregard for Governor Rell,” she said.
Bullock said his group will now press the New London City Council and the General Assembly to pass a mandatory, rather than voluntary, moratorium on all eminent domain proceedings.
According to a copy of the eviction notice obtained by the Journal Inquirer, residents are being required not only to leave by Dec. 8 at the latest, but also to pay $600 a month to the NLDC in the interim.
Tyranny, thy name is Kelo. Connecticut’s and New London’s legislators have a limited time to put a stop to this nonsense. Here’s hoping they mean it when they say they want to protect the existing property owners.
UPDATE: Todd Zywicki at Volokh noted on Sept. 19 that the governor forced withdrawal of the eviction notices.