September 22, 2005

Kelo Situation Update: A Major Blowback against the Eminent Domain Tyrants?

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:52 pm

Important Additional News:
The Kelo Backlash Continues: New London’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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 — 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.

“The loss of their leadership would significantly undermine the ability of the NLDC or anyone to carry out the goals of the MDP,” 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, “I would no longer want to be a part of the board of the NLDC.”

…… 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, “forceful evictions are not planned. Neither the city nor the NLDC want to proceed in this manner.”

The council found itself united Tuesday in its demand that Joplin and Goebel step aside.

“It’s firmly in their court now,” Councilor Beth Sabilia said Wednesday. “We’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.”

Some board members were adamant that they can’t go forward without Joplin and Goebel, either.

The board, said John S. Johnson, was “unanimous in our support of Joplin and Goebel at our last meeting, and I would assume that we would continue to be that way.”

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.



  1. [...] » Kelo Situation Update: A Major Blowback against the Eminent Domain Tyrants? has some excellent reporting on new developments in the Kelo vs. New London case: Two very big th [...]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » » Kelo Situation Update: A Major Blowback against the Eminent Domain Tyrants? — September 22, 2005 @ 8:55 pm

  2. The Open Source Amendment Project began in response to the Supreme Court decision in the case Kelo v. New London. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5 – 4 decision that the City of New London, CT could take several properties under eminent domain making the actions goal of increasing tax revenue a Constitutionally valid public use under the Fifth Amendment.

    The Project began with a draught amendment posted to the weblog Hold The Mayo ( by its author Stephen R. Macklin. The Project then actively sought input from other bloggers interested in protecting property rights. “There are a lot of very smart people on the internet and writing weblogs,” Macklin said. “If that intellectual power can be harnessed we can craft an amendment that will address the damage done to property rights by the Supreme Court in the Kelo decision.”

    After much debate via weblog comments at Hold The Mayo and other weblogs, and numerous revisions, The Open Source Amendment Project has released its final amendment and a petition to Congress to amend the Constitution.

    The President of the United States.
    The Vice President of The United States
    The Members of the United States Senate
    The Members of the United States House of Representatives
    The Members of the United States Supreme Court

    In the Declaration of Independence the founders of this great nation wrote, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” They also built into the structure of our government a process by which we the people can seek to change the nature and function of our government without abolishing it and beginning again.

    We the undersigned agree with our founders that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and feel that our government has exceeded the bounds of that consent. We believe that the recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the exercise of eminent domain was reached with complete disregard for the plain language of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

    We the people therefore ask that the Constitution of the United States be amended to include the following language:
    The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, no government, or agency thereof, within these United States shall have the authority to take property from any person, corporation, or organization through exercise of eminent domain for other than a public use without just compensation.
    Public use shall be understood to be property the government owns or retains the paramount interest in, and the public has a legal right to use. Public use shall be understood to include property the government owns and maintains as a secure facility. Public use shall not be construed to include economic development or increased tax revenue. Public use of such property shall be maintained for a period of not less than 25 years.
    Just compensation shall be the higher of twice the average of the price paid for similar property in the preceding six months, or twice the average of the previous 10 recorded similar property transactions. Compensation paid shall be exempt from taxation in any form by any government within these United States.

    The Open Source Amendment Project hopes to generate support across the internet to get the amendment to congress. The petition is available online at

    The process of amending the Constitution is difficult. As it should be. The first hurdle is getting the amendment before Congress. If enough people get behind the effort we should be able to get someone to listen. There are 535 elected members of congress. I hope there is at least one with and interest in preserving the property rights of individuals.

    Comment by Stephen Macklin — September 23, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

  3. #2-impressive effort, but I disagree with the third paragraph of the petition, and will not sign it.

    Comment by TBlumer — September 24, 2005 @ 11:13 pm

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