Important Additional News:
The Kelo Backlash Continues: New Londonâ€™s Voters May Strike Back Tuesday
Welcome Volokh Conspirators! The complete Sept. 22 New London Day piece excerpted below can be found here. New London Day access requires registration, and all of its content goes behind a paid subscription wall after one week.
The national inattention to the day-to-day happenings in the Kelo case in Connecticut continues to baffle me, as it appears to be headed towards an epic confrontation.
Two very big things have happened in just the past couple of days:
- In response the heavyhanded tactics of the New London Development Corp. (NLDC) — first billing residents for back rent dating back to 2000, then issuing eviction notices despite a government-imposed moratorium — The New London City Council gave the NLDC one week to remove its top executives or be dissolved. As far as I can tell, this was not reported, not even in the local area (though this op-ed piece castigating the Council appeared [requires registration]), until the next item occurred.
- The NLDC Board appears to have rallied behind the execs and won’t request their resignations.
Here’s an excerpt from the New London Day story covering both events (requires registration; will no longer be available in 7 days; bolds are mine):
Joplin, Goebel Have Full Support Of NLDC Board
Members say they don’t expect agency’s top officers to step aside
New London â€” On the day after the City Council gave the New London Development Corp. one week to remove its top executives or be dissolved, the embattled agency’s board of directors prepared Wednesday to rally behind its leadership.
Several board members defended NLDC President Michael Joplin and Chief Operating Officer David M. Goebel, saying they did not expect the board to oust the two despite ongoing criticism from city councilors and state officials of their management of the agency.
The board’s executive committee, which was already scheduled to meet Friday, is likely to reiterate its previous defenses of Joplin and Goebel, said Stephen Percy, a committee member and the board’s secretary.
â€œThe loss of their leadership would significantly undermine the ability of the NLDC or anyone to carry out the goals of the MDP,â€ said Percy, referring to the municipal development plan for the Fort Trumbull peninsula.
Asked what he would do if Joplin and Goebel resigned, as the council unanimously declared they must for the $73 million project to be completed, Percy replied, â€œI would no longer want to be a part of the board of the NLDC.â€
…… The latest dust-up between the agency and the city occurred at the beginning of the month, when the NLDC issued eviction notices to three of the Fort Trumbull property owners who challenged the takings of their houses via eminent domain without informing the City Council or the state beforehand.
City councilors were informed in writing in August that no attempt to relocate property owners was imminent, Councilor Rob Pero said Tuesday night. He then read from a memo to the council, which said, in part, â€œforceful evictions are not planned. Neither the city nor the NLDC want to proceed in this manner.â€
The council found itself united Tuesday in its demand that Joplin and Goebel step aside.
â€œIt’s firmly in their court now,â€ Councilor Beth Sabilia said Wednesday. â€œWe’d like to see our implementing agency finish the plan and work with us to get progress at Fort Trumbull, but we simply can’t do it with the current leadership of their board.â€
Some board members were adamant that they can’t go forward without Joplin and Goebel, either.
The board, said John S. Johnson, was â€œunanimous in our support of Joplin and Goebel at our last meeting, and I would assume that we would continue to be that way.â€
It’s hard to say who has the upper hand here. If (very big if) the Council has the nerve to carry through with actually dissolving the NLDC, it could be a permanent win for the Kelo residents. I would think that a new corporation might have to start from scratch with new authorizations from the Council to carry out legal proceedings necessary to enforce eminent domain over the Kelo properties. In the current political climate, that would appear to be, and hopefully will be, difficult.
- Suzette Kelo testified before The US Senate on Tuesday.
- Though it’s hard to gauge its seriousness, there is a movement to bring protesters (requires registration) to New London to occupy the properties:
(Kelo defendant) Von Winkle said that (early-arriving protester) Canario represents 6,700 people who will come to New London to prevent through nonviolence the seizure of Fort Trumbull property by the city.