Eminent Domain for No One's Gain: New London Groundbreaking Ceremony Postponed

In case you were wondering what’s happening in New London, Connecticut, proud home to the nation's most famous dump, the answer is still a whole lot of nothing. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed New London officials to seize an entire neighborhood via eminent domain on the basis that the city had a "carefully considered" plan to boost economic development.

After the initial plan—a corporate campus with hotels, condos, and office space—fell apart, officials selected a new developer to build an apartment complex on a portion of the razed neighborhood, Fort Trumbull, in 2010. Yesterday, the developer missed a second deadline to show they had secured financing.

David Collins at The Day has details on the deal:

On deck to take the land for free, and then not pay taxes on it, is a father-and-son development team from Fairfield County and New York City, Irwin and Robert Stillman.

In return for the free land, the Stillmans, according to the development agreement they signed 2½ years ago, are supposed to prove they are going to build a big apartment complex and have the financing to finish it.

That proof was lacking, so officials axed Monday's planned groundbreaking.

More from David Collins:

In opening the annual meeting of the New London Development Corp. [last month], agency President Michael Joplin made what seemed intended as a joke, saying people might have seen him earlier down on his knees in front of the mayor….

No one laughed.

In fact, I saw a lot of puzzled faces and nervous squirming in the room, as people seemed to wonder if they had heard right.

One possible scenario Joplin was suggesting is that he was down on his knees begging the mayor to let him stay on as NLDC president. But he needn't have bothered.

The mayor, who vigorously campaigned on the promise that he would abolish the much-hated NLDC, which famously destroyed a city neighborhood after taking the homes by eminent domain, simply changed the name instead last year and said Joplin would go as president.

Well, Joplin was re-elected president ... in a strange meeting in which other principal officers were also returned to office, even though some of them didn't bother to attend.

See more Reason coverage of the nation’s premier eminent domain debacle here and here and here.

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  • robc||

    I bet Susette Kelo could do something productive with the land.

  • ron650||

    Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job Ive had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringin home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, www.Mojo50.com

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Christine Walsh can preside over *my* groundbreaking ceremony any time. Yowza!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Christina

  • ||

    Hubba-hubba.

  • ||

    The Kelo nonsense is the reason I became a libertarian.

  • Jerryskids||

    The Kelo nonsense is the reason I became a libertarian.

    You become a little less reasonable when you understand that Kelo isn't 'nonsense' - it's a freaking SCOTUS decision, the supreme law of the land. The fact that Kelo wasn't a 9-0 decision in favor of Kelo should tell you all you need to know about how far down the road to serfdom we have traveled.

  • Acosmist||

    The fact that it got to SCOTUS is telling.

  • vopiwobypacA3||

    Scarlett. I agree that Angela`s artlclee is astonishing... yesterday I picked up a top of the range Ford Mustang from having earned $5249 this - five weeks past and-over, 10 grand last-munth. this is definitely the most rewarding Ive had. I actually started 9-months ago and immediately brought home at least $86 per-hour. I use the details on this website.... grand4.com
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

  • ||

    The decision scared me, so yes it is not nonsense; that was a poor choice of words.

    Property rights, and the fact that they are not sacred is scary.

  • John C. Randolph||

    it's a freaking SCOTUS decision, the supreme law of the land.

    Actually, it's a failure of the supreme court to uphold the fifth amendment. I don't buy the royalist line that the court is the last word on the law of the land. Jefferson and Madison were right, when they said that the proper remedy for federal overreach is nullification.

    -jcr

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "After spending more than 80 million dollars in taxpayer money, there has been no new construction whatsoever. And the area that was once a vibrant close-knit neighborhood is now a barren field filled with demolition debris and home only to feral cats."

    First of all, when judging state actions, you don't get to use results as criteria, only intentions. And second, feral cats need a home, too.

  • db||

    Someone ought to squat on the land and start a little farm. I bet the authorities would find a "use" for it real quick and spqre no expense to eject said squatters.

    Any word on how many of the evicted property owners still live in the area? If I were they, I would kisck the dust of that shit-ass town from my feet and never give them the benefit of another cent worth of business or tax money.

  • Paul.||

    Someone ought to squat on the land and start a little farm. I bet the authorities would find a "use" for it real quick and spqre no expense to eject said squatters.

    Uhm, they did, and they were evicted.

    There used to be these squatters named Kelo who took up residence on the land, and the government of New London would have none of it.

    They found a "use" for the land real quick and spared no expence in ejecting her.

  • Rod Flash||

    They are assuming the only reason this guy would be on his knees in front of the mayor is begging for his job? Methinks they misunderstand the political process.

  • Radioactive||

    i think the term is BLOW job, actually

  • RightNut||

    Kelo is probably the most anti-liberty decision in recent memory. Next time someone mentions how Justice Kennedy is a libertarian, remember he was the swing vote in Kelo vs New London.

  • deified||

    We have no choice but to pretend he found Jesus after that one and encourage his "libertarian brilliance."

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go take a shower.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Kelo is probably the most anti-liberty decision in recent memory.

    I'd put it a bit lower than Gonzalez v. Raich, actually.

    -jcr

  • Paul.||

    Meh... I say Kelo was #1, Raich was maybe #2.

  • Radioactive||

    douche bag is as douche bag does...

  • Jerryskids||

    It's time for the city to move on and take a new direction in developing the treasure that is the Fort Trumbull peninsula, just like candidate Finizio promised.

    Wait, so is this guy saying the Kelo taking and decision was wrong or is he merely of the opinion that while the land was in private hands it was a blight but now it is a treasure and he opposes returning it to private hands? Somehow I get the feeling that the guy is of the second opinion. 'You didn't build that' and 'it takes a village' and all that.

  • db||

    "We had to destroy the village that you didn't build in order to not save it."

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Maybe they could build a new prison on the land. Just think of all the new jobs and what a boon to local businesses.

  • WomSom||

    Sounds like some pretty crazy stuff to me dude.

    www.Prox-Anon.tk

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Remember, on America's Eminent Domain Super-Highway, TVA was the surveyor. Have we returned one stick of that property to its previous owners?

  • vopiwobypacA3||

    Scarlett. I agree that Angela`s artlclee is astonishing... yesterday I picked up a top of the range Ford Mustang from having earned $5249 this - five weeks past and-over, 10 grand last-munth. this is definitely the most rewarding Ive had. I actually started 9-months ago and immediately brought home at least $86 per-hour. I use the details on this website.... grand4.com
    (Go to site and open "Home" for details)

  • deified||

    OT: Progressives, being morons, can't figure out how to set up a market for a wildly popular product in a state full of successful entrepreneurs and a population rife with enthusiastic customers.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    It's not the market they can't figure out. It's how to get people to pay absurd taxes when they don't have to.

    In other news, Washington closes the border with Oregon to boost sales tax revenue.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    DHS/TSA border checkpoints at state lines: "Your papers. Out of your vehicle. Spread your legs. Back-scatter of vehicle. You cannot carry those items across state lines. Turn around, you cannot cross -- You are on the 'NO TRAVEL' list."

  • Paul.||

    I've been posting this shit for months, about how regulators and their sycophants in the press actually believe that there is no market for pot, it must be created by enlightened government regulators. Get this first sentence in the article you linked:

    (Reuters) - Key officials helping to create Washington state's potentially lucrative recreational pot market

    I didn't read further.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    They meant lucrative to the STATE by way of fat taxes on the maryjane at every level. Crop, processing, sale.

    That is why I laugh at the potheads who cry, "Please tax our weed!" An inexpensive product made very expensive when burdened with state levies.

    In addition, the FEDs will still bust your door down and treat you like a criminal. Just ask Dept of Injustice AG Eric Holder.

  • robc||

    OT, due to the lack of a saturday morning links or the old-standard weekend open thread:

    Lazy Beer Writers are Ruining Craft Beer

    A counter to the slate article posted in the morning links a few days ago. Within it, he actually makes the points the slate author was trying to make but failed to make.

  • robc||

    And another interesting article, just because:

    What will hops taste like next

  • Radioactive||

    douche...

  • Cdr Lytton||

    What's the new name for the hated NLDC? New London Sinecure Corp.? Both the working and literal meaning of sinecure apply to those guys.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Delta City Development Corp

  • General Butt Naked||

    Remember in movies when an evil development company wanted whatever land the scrappy underdogs were occupying, they'd actually send in mafia thugs?

    It's like they've gotten smarter and now know that there is a much more sociopathic and murderous gang that no one can resist.

  • Agammamon||

    That's because the mafia guys *know* they're criminals. The government thinks it righteous and therefore no act is improper.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    They used to "buy off the law" until they found out that it's easier, safer and more lucrative to "be the law".

  • General Butt Naked||

    And (in my state anyways) if a goon comes in your house and starts trashing the place and making threats you can shoot his ass dead (unless he wears a badge).

  • Radioactive||

    then he gets to shoot your dog...

  • Paul.||

    Why would you send in mafia thugs when you have government?

  • Agammamon||

    Hmm, I wonder how much tax money the seized land is generating *now*.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    I think this proposed development needs a few more years of rezoning studies, environmental impact studies and increased taxpayer funding. Don't rush into anything without skimming tens of millions of dollars in advance.

  • John C. Randolph||

    It sounds like meetings of the city council in New London could use more citizen turnout, with pitchforks, torches, tar, and feathers.

    -jcr

  • John C. Randolph||

    BTW, has Kelo considered running for mayor of New London? I'm pretty sure she could win, and there's nobody with a stronger incentive to make the city quit doing this shit.

    -jcr

  • Paul.||

    Kelo strikes me as someone who just vants to be alone.

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