If this is correct, this is the most outrageous think I have ever heard, and I have heard a lot in the past few years:
Those who believe in the adage “when it rains, it pours” might take the tale of the plaintiffs in Kelo v. New London as a cue to buy two of every animal and a load of wood from Home Depot. The U.S. Supreme Court recently found that the city’s original seizure of private property was constitutional under the principal of eminent domain, and now New London is claiming that the affected homeowners were living on city land for the duration of the lawsuit and owe back rent. It’s a new definition of chutzpah: Confiscate land and charge back rent for the years the owners fought confiscation.
In some cases, their debt could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Moreover, the homeowners are being offered buyouts based on the market rate as it was in 2000…
The New London Development Corp., the semi-public organization hired by the city to facilitate the deal, is offering residents the market rate as it was in 2000, as state law requires. That rate pales in comparison to what the units are now worth, owing largely to the relentless housing bubble that has yet to burst.
“I can’t replace what I have in this market for three times [the 2000 assessment],” says Dery, 48, who works as a home delivery sales manager for the New London Day . He soothes himself with humor: “It’s a lot like what I like to do in the stock market: buy high and sell low.”
And there are more storms on the horizon. In June 2004, NLDC sent the seven affected residents a letter indicating that after the completion of the case, the city would expect to receive retroactive “use and occupancy” payments (also known as “rent”) from the residents.
In the letter, lawyers argued that because the takeover took place in 2000, the residents had been living on city property for nearly five years, and would therefore owe rent for the duration of their stay at the close of the trial. Any money made from tenantssome residents’ only form of incomewould also have to be paid to the city.
If this is correct, and my reading is accurate, they are kicking these people off of their property and handing it over to other, better, private citizens who will make the city richer, and to add insult to injury, they want to pay them less than fair market value- the market value for what their house was 5 years ago. Then, to add insult to injury, they intend to charge them ‘rent’ for living in their own property for the several years they were fighting the city from taking their property.
Unbelievable. I want to see more, and I want to see this verified, and then, if true, stopped.
(h/t Captain Ed)
The homeowners could soon be served with eviction notices, which is justified by the court ruling. But the rent is something else. For some, it comes to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Kelo, whose name is on the landmark case, could owe $57,000. “I’d leave here broke,” she told the Fairfield County Weekly. “I could probably get a large-size refrigerator box and live under the bridge.”
In a letter to the homeowners’ lawyer a year ago, the development corporation justified its behavior by saying, “We know that your clients did not expect to live in city-owned property for free.”
Well, they might have expected not to be bullied for exercising their right to be heard in court.
News of the city’s heavy handed tactics should add to the unusual national backlash that has followed the Supreme Court’s ruling. The court said state and local governments can seize homes, not just for a public purpose such as building roads or schools, but also for someone else’s private profit if the city’s economic future is at issue.
I think we can take USA Today as a confirmation.