Property Rights

Connecticut Agency Seeks to Whitewash Its Role in Kelo Eminent Domain Abuse


In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its notorious ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. At issue was New London, Connecticut's desire to use eminent domain to clear way an existing neighborhood and put up a fancy new hotel, apartment buildings, and office towers in its place, all designed to complement the nearby research and development center being built by the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. Although this was a classic example of eminent domain abuse, with the government taking property from one private party and then handing it over to another for no legitimate public use, the Court let it stand anyway because it was part of what Justice John Paul Stevens called a "comprehensive redevelopment plan" that would provide "appreciable benefits to the community."

Unsurprisingly, those appreciable benefits never materialized. Not only was the new development project never built, which means the existing neighborhood was destroyed for nothing, Pfizer later shuttered its facility and pulled out of New London altogether. To add insult to injury, Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Richard N. Palmer, one of the four justices who voted against the property owners and therefore directly precipitated the Supreme Court's dismal ruling, later apologized to Susette Kelo for his misguided vote.

In the latest twist to this long and infuriating saga, the New London Development Corporation (NLDC), the quasi-public agency that orchestrated the original land grab, is now attempting to whitewash its role in the whole sordid affair. As the New London Patch reports, the agency voted yesterday to change its name to the vague and self-aggrandizing Renaissance City Development Association in order to get away from all those uncomfortable connections with the Kelo debacle. Here's the New London Patch:

NLDC President Michael Joplin said Mayor Daryl Finizio recommended the change when Joplin and members of NLDC's executive committee met with him in January. Joplin said the organization has also considered changing its name in the past, saying it has been "unfairly tarred and feathered" due to its role in the Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case before the United States Supreme Court.

"Everyone in this room knows we've got baggage, and it's spelled K-E-L-O," said Joplin….

"If there'd been a little more support from the media, we probably wouldn't have this public relations fiasco that's plagued the city for so long," said [NLDC member Stephen] Percy.

It's bad enough to employ a cute euphemism like baggage to describe the use of government-backed bulldozers to destroy somebody's house for no legitimate reason, but the self-pity on display by the NLDC is just beyond parody. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

NEXT: Kennedy, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch Talk 2012 Presidential Race

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 or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

    I hear good intentions washes the shame right off.

    1. My guess is that they’re incapable of shame.

  2. Really, they’re going with blaming the media here? That’s…an interesting tactic.

    1. Considering their comments wound up being published by the media, I’d say it was pretty stupid of them.

      Protip: Never publicly state that the reason things went poorly for you is that the media didn’t kiss your ass enough.

  3. Why is Palmer’s apology “adding insult”? At least he was honest enough to own up to his mistake.

    1. Actually, he didn’t;

      Once his comment got publicized he walked back on it faster than Michael Jackson doing a stage show in the mid 80’s.

      In the end he reverted to saying that he made the right decision, but that he was sorry to be confronted by one of the eggs that have to be broken to make the omelet of national greatness. Basically, one of those I’m sorry you’re upset non-apologies.

  4. “unfairly tarred and feathered”

    I’m not sure he knows what unfairly means.

    Wow, I can’t even copypasta from the HnR post without getting the 50 char error.

    1. They are using smart quotes.

  5. “Although this was a classic example of eminent domain abuse, with the government taking property from one private party and then handing it over to another for no legitimate public use…”

    and yet its just fine to take property taxes fm private parties & then handing vouchers to another w/o any local voter approval???

    *ooops forgot…hatez me sum unionz = ok *

    1. Can anyone translate? Anyone here speak Dipshit Pidgin?

      1. When o3 farts, it’s best to just leave the room.

      2. It’s like he spews out random geysers of senselessness born of some underlying guilt.

      3. Sounds like an out of work educational professional using a cell-phone to get around an IP ban bitching about the competition caused to public schools by state issued private school vouchers.

        Furthermore not smart enough to recognize that a voucher program will, inevitably in a Microsoft embrace-extend-extinguish fashion, eventually destroy the private school system as an affordable, independent alternative to government schooling.

        1. Might kill off some private schools, but I think most boarding schools would be ok since there are so many reasons to send your kid to boarding school in addition to the education.

          This is not an endorsement of vouchers.

        2. He was referring to using government power to transfer wealth for “no legitimate public purpose” so I am assuming someone who hates children.

  6. They should all be Gratefully Dead

  7. If there’d been a little more support from the media, we probably wouldn’t have this public relations fiasco that’s plagued the city for so long

    Bless the beasts and the children

    For in this world they have no voice

    They have no choice

  8. If anyone branded KELO on all of their foreheads, would a jury in New London convict?

  9. That’s funny, they’re portraying their victory before the Supreme Court as something that unfairly damaged their reputation. Most litigants prefer to win.

  10. lol, pretty funny stuff dude.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.