Good News, Bad News with Eminent Domain in Ohio


While the fight on the national level continues and will continue to continue, for now three property owners who challenged an eminent domain taking of their property for some private development have gotten the keys to their castles back in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court decision in the Norwood case. The bad news: they are claiming their properties were not treated kindly by the new "owners":

Joy Gamble and Sanae Ichikawa-Burton said they are happy to have unlimited access, but they're not happy about the condition of their properties.

Gamble said their property has been vandalized while in the developer's possession.

"It should be given back to us in the condition it was when we were forced to leave," she said. "The Ohio Supreme Court said to give us our home back, not an unlivable pile of junk."

Ichikawa-Burton said water has seeped into the basement of her former learning center, creating a potential mold problem. There has been other damage, too, she said.

"We are not going to take the property back the way it is," she said. "It's a mess. They need to repair everything."

Will they? Will they pay the attorneys fees for the property owners? (They have to do at least the latter under Ohio law, insist the property owners legal eagles, the Institute for Justice, but the developers and city government involved–the Rookwood Partners and Norwood, a Cincinnati suburb–will be disputing that.)

Past talk on this Norwood takings case from Reason Foundation analyst Owen Courreges back in 2004 here; more recently, this January, Jacob Sullum explained the tortured and absurd reasoning behind the Norwood city council's condemnation of the three properties at issue.