As David Beito noted earlier this week, the Alabama State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (which Beito chairs) held a meeting on Wednesday where victimized property owners were invited to share their stories of eminent domain abuse. The Montgomery Advertiser was there:
Two men, Jimmie McCall and Jim Peera, told the committee that the city of Montgomery was using these ordinances to take land away from low-income minority property owners.
Both men have a long history with the city, and each has litigation against the city pending….
Peera is the owner of Avon Court Apartments, which he noted was about a block away from where Rosa Parks lived. The city had a portion of the apartment complex demolished after certain units were found to be unsafe.
Peera, who is from Africa, said he had a $1 million plan to revitalize the property and turn it into affordable housing but that the city blocked that project by rezoning the property from multi-family to single-family dwellings.
"This shouldn't be happening in Rosa Parks' backyard," Peera told the committee members.
"I believe it's what I call the backdoor to eminent domain. It's all about control," said Peera, who lives in Atlanta.
In McCall's case, the black Montgomery resident's would-be home was torn down before it was finished after the city's housing codes office found it to be unsafe. He had planned to build his "dream home" on a two-acre property at 3118 Woodley Road.