Using Eminent Domain to Screw the Little Guy in Spring Valley, New York

Probably what will cheer you up this morning is a story about eminent domain abuse paid for by you. If so, you’re in luck, gentle reader.  

Officials in Spring Valley, New York, which is about 20 miles north of Manhattan, have been seizing properties in the village’s 15-block downtown area for the past decade and flipping them to private developers. Federal community development block grants helped pay for the acquisitions.

From The Journal News:

Mercy Anim can’t bring herself to drive down Main Street, where she had cared for young children at her day-care center before being displaced by a condo complex as part of the village’s urban renewal project.

She never found a spot to reopen Little Angels. The condo builder offered her pre-manufactured trailers to care for infants to 12-year-olds. She chose to close in 2009.

“My heart was so broken,” Anim said. “I’ve never driven on the street since I closed. They took away from me the children and their parents. I want to cry. I don’t go to Spring Valley no more.”

Village leaders, two of whom are now under federal indictment for extortion and wire fraud in an unrelated matter, demolished Anim’s business and several others in 2009. What they haven’t done is pay Anim for improvements made to the property. They’ve offered $96,000. Anim’s appraiser says she should be getting north of $1 million.

In the meantime, the developers, aided further by a variety of state and local subsidies, built senior housing as well as expensive condominiums designed to meet kosher standards.

Back to The Journal News:

[The developers] are accused of steering the condos to ultra-Orthodox Jews and discouraging non-religious people from buying units.

The NAACP filed a complaint after people tried to buy a condo, saying they were given more expensive prices and the runaround.

The village could be liable to repay HUD up to $1 million for not reporting the sale of property to the developer, according to a HUD audit.

Former officials say everything is above board; they knew going in that the condos would go to Orthodox Jews. But that may violate federal fair-housing rules all the same. HUD is investigating.

That’s little consolation to Anim: “I had an investment in that building,” Anim said. “They put up condos to benefit certain people. I can’t believe this can happen in America. Eminent domain is not supposed to be used that way.”

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    [The developers] are accused of steering the condos to ultra-Orthodox Jews and discouraging non-religious people from buying units.

    The NAACP filed a complaint after people tried to buy a condo, saying they were given more expensive prices and the runaround.

    You know who else discouraged people from living near the Jews?

  • Rich||

    Woody Allen?

  • michaelluke3145||

    like Cynthia responded I am impressed that a person able to get paid $8015 in a few weeks on the internet. did you look at this web page... WWW.DAZ7.COM

  • ||

    Any Jews there?

  • seguin||

    like Moshe responded I am impressed that a person able to get paid $8015 in a few weeks working from his kosher condo on the internet. did you look at this web page... WWW.MAZELTOV8.COM

  • Jerryskids||

    The Jews?

  • Scotticus Finch||

    The one thing that sticks with me from those old god-awful anti-smoking "truth" commercials was the end, where passersby had little icons appear over their heads indicating they had been infected with truth. I like to think that applies in situations like this in regards to libertarianism. Unfortunately, I also think it's happening at about 1/1000th of the birth rate. All Anim's former daycare kids will most likely grow up to support the seizure.

  • Rich||

    OT: More Benghazi "transparency"

    Anyone know that script-reading State Dept clown in the video? Have they no shame?

  • Ted S.||

    What differece, at this point, does it make?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Former officials say everything is above board; they knew going in that the condos would go to Orthodox Jews. But that may violate federal fair-housing rules all the same.

    It's government dictates all the way down. Government seized the property and handed it to private developers. Government is coming down on the seizers and developers for discrimination. Next government will come down on the NAACP for its complaint being filed counter to some regulation or law.

    Local officials knew beforehand it was going to be exclusive? And they think that shields them from higher government scrutiny?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    "well when the government does it, it's not a crime"

    I think 3 of the faces on Mount Rushmore should be replaced with Nixon, FDR, and Wilson. They're certainly more representative of the type of government we have now.

  • yonemoto||

    as if TR, Jefferson and Lincoln weren't plenty authoritarian.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Former officials say everything is above board; they knew going in that the condos would go to Orthodox Jews.

    You gots ta keep them nigrahs out, no matter what it takes.

  • Aloysious||

    Was I just called a 'gentle reader'?

    Code words.

    Dog whistle.

  • ||

    He's trying to exclude Warty.

  • Jerryskids||

    I thought that was gentile reader.

  • DJF||

    Spring Valley is also in the news because the local school board is run by Hassidic Jews who cut funding to the public schools while diverting money to Hasidic schools

    One way to divert money is to claim that Hasidic kids need to be classified as having special education needs because Hasidic boys and girls can’t attend school together or even ride on the same bus so taxpayer must pay for this.

    Sounds like somebody need to explain to them that ‘separation of church and state” also means “separation of synagogue and state”.

    http://jjie.org/public-kid-vs-.....dangerous/

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Leaving aside that "separation of church and state" isn't in the Constitution, what about free exercise of religion?

    If you can't get rid of government schools, just cut a check for each kid and let the parents spend it where they want.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Leaving aside that "separation of church and state" isn't in the Constitution, what about free exercise of religion?

    You're right, "separation of church and state" isn't in the Constitution. The phrase was just used in a letter written by the author of the Constitution in reference to the meaning of the First Amendment:

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

    Clearly this means that America is a "Christian nation" and you better shut the fuck up with the whining when a supermarket cashier wishes you a "Merry Christmas".

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I guess I should say "an author". Don't want to forget Jefferson's Best Frenemy Forever...

  • SusanM||

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    How about this gem from the Treaty of Tripoli - Approved by John Adams himself

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18t......asp#art11

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    That's all well and good, but walls have two sides. The "free exercise" side of the wall gets short shrift compared to the "establishment" side. The entire idea of "freedom from religion" is all about the establishment side and ignores the free exercise side.

  • ||

    "free" exercise as opposed to "paid for by school taxes" exercise?

  • DJF||

    Or maybe we need “separation of schools and state” and “separation of private development and state”.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A wall separating education and the state.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    A wailing wall?

  • ||

    A wall walling off the state?

  • Paul.||

    This was separation of Jews and "other" neighbors. Totally constitutional.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I wonder if the blacks and Latinos have tried playing the same game: getting their kids designated as special needs. Pretty soon you'd have all kids designated special needs, and a defacto voucher system.

    But if the Hasidic Jews control the school board, that might not be possible.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Research has shown that, even in this decade, Black Americans are overrepresented in Special Education. Part of that may be due to institutional racism, but the fact that the Feds will cut a check to both the school and the parent of a kid in a Special Ed. program certainly provides a perverse incentive, no?

  • AlmightyJB||

    You know I'm always skeptical of studies like this because how much of this can be explained by poverty instead of race? Blacks are disproportionately impoverished so they would be overrepresented in any study where poverty was a major factor. Any time you talk about children born with special needs or even about infant mortality rates, lack of pre-natelcare is a major factor and poor folks tend to have much poorer pre-natel care skills than others. Some of that due to lack of health care and some to lack of education and generational ignorance. As far as these programs go, many poor people have learned to game the system so it's not surprising some of these kids are missclassified, but again blacks would be overrepresented in that sample for the reasons stated above.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I agree. I would be curious, though, to see how the rate of urban and rural Blacks in Special Ed compare to rural, and very poor, White kids in Appalachia.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, that would would be interesting. There's definately a lot of welfare state gaming going on in Appalachia. First you have to get those Harvard researcher to go out in the sticks where there not a cab ride away from their 5 star hotel.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    There's anecdotal evidence that poor hillbillies try to get their kids labeled special ed for the disability payments.

  • deified||

    This is pretty important. The Ultra-Orthodox in Rockland County (Kiryas Joel, Monsey, etc.) are the worst kind of welfare chislers. (E.g., the men don't work so they can study Torah/Talmud all day while the wife is raising 8+ kids on welfare, welfare, welfare.)

    Source: I'm a Jewish person and I grew up nearby.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Frank_Carbonni||

    They are also exempt from military service AND believe that Israel should not exist. They are parasites of the highest order.

  • Sevo||

    Was this posted here?
    "US government orders Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed to remove blueprint for 3D-printed handgun from the web"
    "The US government has demanded the removal of online files which allow users to 3D-print their own unregistered gun at home"
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....10842.html

  • ||

    There was a big thread on it early afternoon yesterday.

  • Sevo||

    See? That's what I get for working...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    OT

    Mellisa Perry Harris, MSNBCs race baiter extraordinaire and all around progtard just compared Amanda Berry's ten years as a sex slave to parental consent requirements for teen abortions and Rethuglicans that propose such laws to Ariel Castro.

  • JW||

    She really is a special amalgam of scum and imbecility.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Mellisa Perry Harris, MSNBCs race baiter extraordinaire and all around progtard just compared Amanda Berry's ten years as a sex slave to parental consent requirements for teen abortions and Rethuglicans that propose such laws to Ariel Castro.

    If she said it, it must be true.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    She's a professor, so everything out of her mouth is divine wisdom.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    MPH? Troll or Super-Troll?

    Discuss.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Troll. But I'd do her.

  • JW||

    In a basement, for 10 years?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Hey, whatever it takes!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • deified||

    The lisp is adorable, no joke. I want to cross-breed her and Ezra Klein for some sort of maximized Lisp-to-Liberal-Idiocy quotient.

  • ||

    God save the federal titan and the local enforcers of their will! We're just serfs living on land leased to us by the almighty operatives of government.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Tin cup rattling

    The coalition states in a news release that giving spare change to panhandlers is only a short-term remedy and would prefer people give their change or donations to organizations that provide direct resources and services to those in need.

    Don't give your money to amateur panhandlers. Give it to the pros.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Democrat talking points

    Addressing the Montana AFL-CIO annual convention in Billings, Schweitzer said he has been receiving lots of calls from people urging him to run. He said it would be a family decision involving his wife, Nancy, and their three children.

    "But if we decide to do this...we need to do it together," he said at the end of a wide-ranging speech that touched on his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the high costs of health care, and the need for organized labor to stand up against corporate interests.

    "If we don't stand together, they'll pick us off one by one," he said. "We've got dirty, dark money flowing around. The most powerful are getting their way. They have the money and they're going to spend that money."

    He's going to have to kiss the cops' asses and come out against private ownership of firearms next.

  • cw||

    Considering he now sits on the board of the largest publicly traded company in Montana, I find his talking point about "corporate interests" all the more irritating.

    God he's one annoying son of a bitch.

  • JW||

    "We've got dirty, dark money flowing around."

    "And not enough of it is coming to me."

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Addressing the Montana AFL-CIO..."We've got dirty, dark money flowing around.

    and you guys are going to give it to me."

  • Sevo||

    ..."We've got dirty, dark money flowing around. The most powerful are getting their way. They have the money and they're going to spend that money."...

    "Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2012"
    "2. American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees $55,379,191"

  • Sevo||

  • The Late P Brooks||

    DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

    The level of the most important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide, has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday, reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.

    Scientific instruments showed that the gas had reached an average daily level above 400 parts per million — just an odometer moment in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are faltering.

  • cw||

    most important heat-trapping gas

    Subjective much?

    reaching a concentration not seen on the earth for millions of years.

    Smells like bullshit.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Smells like bullshit

    You mean it smells like that horrible killer gas, hydrogen sulfide? :)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indirect measurements suggest that the last time the carbon dioxide level was this high was at least three million years ago, during an epoch called the Pliocene. Geological research shows that the climate then was far warmer than today, the world’s ice caps were smaller, and the sea level might have been as much as 60 or 80 feet higher.

    By "far warmer" they mean 2 to 3 degrees Centigrade. And what does that mean? It means that Russia and Canada would be able to grow tons and tons of food! Western China could support herds grazing of animals! Germany and Poland would enjoy temperate winters!

    Truly, a Hell on Earth.

  • JW||

    Glaciationist!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Virtually every automobile ride, every plane trip and, in most places, every flip of a light switch adds carbon dioxide to the air, and relatively little money is being spent to find and deploy alternative technologies.

    It's genocide, I tells ya!

  • JW||

    “I had an investment in that building,” Anim said. “They put up condos to benefit certain people. I can’t believe this can happen in America. Eminent domain is not supposed to be used that way.”

    Welcome to the New World Normal.

    Now, shut up and get back on the collective.

  • Ted S.||

    I wouldn't mind seeing her get one of the town politicos' houses in exchange. Preferably if it involves forcibly removing the politician from the house, at gunpoint and in a way that terrorises the politican's children.

  • txgypsy||

    and if the politicians family has any dogs,.......well,...you know....

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Insane grief

    "I will chain my body to it and to protest if they try to reopen it," said Erica Lafferty, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung, the school's principal, who was among those killed, told NBC Connecticut after no decision was made at a meeting last week.

    "It should be knocked down," Lafferty said. "There should be some type of long-lasting memorial. I don't want people to walk into the building and say, 'Oh well, that's where Erica's mom got gunned down.' That's not OK."

    Jesus fuck, you crazy bitch. Why can't you just throw yourself off a bridge?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Don't go to Dallas!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults in December, should be torn down and replaced with an entirely new school, the task force charged with determining its future decided Friday night.

    I think it's awesome that the task force decided, by fiat, to spend Newtown's taxpayer's money to assuage the grief of people so distraught that they are acting in a hyper-irrational manner.

  • AlmightyJB||

    What should happen is that they go ahead and do that and then start garnishing the task force mambers pay to help pay for it. That would be a good lesson for future task forces.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Apologies if this has been posted in another story already:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/port.....and_i.html

    Brennan made national headlines a year ago when smartphone photos went viral showing him standing near a metal detector without a stitch on and then again when a Multnomah County circuit judge determined he was just exercising his free speech.

    On Tuesday, Brennan will be back before a judge, appealing a Transportation Security Administration attempt to fine him $1,000 for allegedly breaking a federal rule stating passengers may not "interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate" TSA screeners.

    "I've had this cloud hanging over my head ... for months and months," said Brennan, 50, who was notified of the $1,000 fine in August.

    Robert Callahan, a Portland attorney who has taken on Brennan's case pro bono, said the TSA is going after Brennan "because they didn't like to lose."

    And the cherry:

    Next week, however, the administrative law judge won't be allowed to consider Brennan's defense that he was exercising his constitutional rights, his attorney said.
  • AuH20||

    Administrative law: Because goddamn is all this "rights" bullshit inconvenient, huh? Fuck dealing with that shit!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yes, because the judge is an advocate for the prosecution. Just as statest intended.

  • seguin||

    It's because it's Administrative Law. Kind of like Social Justice, once you put that modifier in front of it you can do anything you damn well please with it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the administrative law judge won't be allowed to consider Brennan's defense that he was exercising his constitutional rights, his attorney said.

    The Constitution doesn't apply to administrative law?

    WTF?

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Wow, Property-Grabbing Town Councils funded by the Feds:

    ANOTHER GLOBAL FORCE FOR GOOD!

  • Angelina09||

    my best friend's sister got paid $18490 past week. she has been working on the and moved in a $584400 home. All she did was get fortunate and try the clues shown on this link go to this site home tab for more detail--- WWW.JOBS34.COM

  • WomSom||

    Doesnt come as any surprise at all man, None.

    www.Secure-Web.tk

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement